Milk & Honey PR gives employee trust 55% ownership of agency

Global PR agency, Milk & Honey has transferred 55% of group shares to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT). The means 52% of employees are now co-owners. In order to qualify, an employee must be at the agency for a minimum of 12 months.

Today’s announcement sees Hive Group — the holding company for Milk & Honey PR in Australia, UK and North America — restructured as an EOT.

Milk & Honey Team

The four-and-a-half-year-old business has been independently valued at £3.6 million by the legal firm responsible for setting up the EOT. With 55% of Hive Group shares held by a newly created Trust, employees are now majority shareholders in the business. This entitles them to actively influence strategic decisions made by the business, as well as share in profits tax free (up to £3,600 per person per annum).

Milk & Honey PR founder and CEO, Kirsty Leighton, said: “First and foremost, Milk & Honey is a people business. We have created a sustainable, purpose driven, great place to work — whilst delivering incredible growth, ongoing profitability and outstanding client success. We have always shared profit with our teams, however this new EOT structure means we can legally empower the team to be more actively involved in the direction of their business and do so in a more tax efficient manner. Essentially, ‘In our people we trust’.”

Milk & Honey made its first senior appointment in Australia, hiring Maggie Gaston as client director in March last year. The UK-founded agency announced it would be expanding and opening a Sydney office in November 2019 led by Caroline Addy.

The new Employee Ownership Trust is guided by a team council, with a remit to scrutinise and guide Hive Group decision-making.

Milk & Honey senior client executive and new EOT Team Council president, Lizzie Elkin,  said Milk & Honey had always been a place where everyone’s opinion matters, but that co-ownership “takes this to a new level”.

“We are now part of the strategic decision-making process and will help to guide the agency as it continues to grow. It’s PR by the people, for the people.”

Today’s EOT news follows Milk & Honey PR opening its first North American office in New York led by US PR veteran Paul Cohen.

In April the agency launched its new ‘Purpose’ offering, led by Fiona Gildea, supporting businesses as they become agents for positive change.


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