Founders of UK’s biggest animation company handed 75% share to employees to ‘safeguard independence’.
The owners of Aardman, the Oscar-winning animation studio behind Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep, announced in 2018 that they would hand over three-quarters of the business to staff. Peter Lord and David Sproxton founded Aardman while still at school in 1972. It’s now the UK’s biggest animation company, with 140 staff and a multi-million pound turnover.
Lord and Sproxton said: “We’re not quitting yet, but we are preparing for our future. This approach, the creation of an employee trust, is the best solution we have found for keeping Aardman doing what it does best, keeping the teams in place and providing continuity for our highly creative culture. And of course, those that create value in the company will continue to benefit directly from the value they create.
“The statistics show that employee owned companies are significantly more successful than conventionally owned companies. So we are very excited by the prospect of seeing Aardman roll far into the future under this arrangement and can rest easy that those four decades which have slipped by have paved the way for many more years of great creativity.”
Tags Employee ownership
New rules needed
Policies that can help unleash the potential of this or similar initiatives across the UK.
Introduce a Co-operative Economy Act
A legal framework tailored to the needs of co-operatives and supportive of their future development.
Start inclusive ownership funds
An economic heartbeat that transfers the ownership and control of businesses to workers and other key stakeholders.
Launch a Co-operative Development Agency
A network of support and capacity building to develop and extend the capabilities of the co-operative movement.
Implement an employee right to own
Co-operatise existing businesses to accelerate new models of ownership and increase the volume of the co-operative sector in the UK.