Aspect embraces employee ownership as growth continues

Andrew McCallum • Jun 21, 2024

Leading integrated consultancy, Aspect: The Strategic Communication Experts today (21 June – Employee Ownership Day) announces that 100% of the shares in the company has been acquired by a new Employee Ownership Trust on behalf of the firm’s employees.

Under the leadership of Founder and CEO Andrew McCallum, Aspect’s revenue has grown by more than 250% since recruiting its first employee in 2019, accelerating through and beyond the global pandemic to deliver revenues of £3.1 million in 2023.

Andrew will remain as CEO, with fellow Board Director, Yvonne McCallum, continuing to lead the firm’s finance, commercial and legal functions. They’ll work closely with the leadership team – Digital Director Ewan Duthie, Marketing Director Jenny Adams, Communication Director Leona Minellas, and Public Affairs and Stakeholder Engagement Director Peter Smyth.

From its offices in the heart of Aberdeen and on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Aspect’s talented team of 22 employees advise clients globally in complex, issue-rich sectors from energy, infrastructure and sustainability to technology, life sciences and the natural economy.

Aspect's Aberdeen team

Andrew McCallum, Founder and CEO, said:

“The success of our business is built on the expertise, creativity and energy of our talented people. What we’ve achieved over the past five years would not have been possible without them and I’m very grateful for their continued support as I lead the firm into this exciting new chapter.

“We’re proud to have created an open, collaborative and supportive culture where people can develop and thrive. Becoming an employee-owned business empowers our team to actively shape Aspect’s future and share in its continued growth and success, now, and for many years to come.

“From repositioning brands for the net zero future and shaping the policy landscape to unlock sustainable growth, to helping organisations define their purpose and vision and delivering integrated communication, marketing, digital and public affairs strategies – our work has impact and consequence.

“I believe this unique combination of employee ownership, inclusive culture, and purpose-led work for our ambitious clients creates a platform for the future.”

The Aspect Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) will be chaired by Independent Trustee, June Boyle, a highly experienced chair, non-executive director and executive coach with a successful career spanning roles at bp, RBS, BT, Lloyds Banking Group and most recently, Edinburgh Napier University.

Following an internal election process, Jenny Adams, Marketing Director has been appointed to the role of Employee Trustee. Andrew McCallum is the Founder Trustee.

June Boyle, Chair of the Aspect Employee Ownership Trust, said:

“Aspect is an excellent business with a strong team and impressive client portfolio in the UK and internationally. In my experience, businesses with a progressive culture where employees are engaged and involved in the direction of the company deliver better performance.

“In my role as Chair of the Trust Board I look forward to seeing Aspect go from strength-to-strength as an employee-owned business and I will work with my fellow Trustees to make sure the company continues to develop and grow in the best interests of employees.”

Since the introduction of EOTs in 2014, employee ownership has grown by 90 percent and there are now more than 1,800 employee-owned businesses in the UK. Research indicates employee- owned businesses have a positive impact on individuals, communities and the wider economy.

Tom Arthur MSP, Minister for Employment and Investment, said:

“It’s good to see Aspect joining the growing list of companies recognising that employee-ownership is positive for business as we progress towards the Scottish Government’s target of 500 employee-owned businesses by 2030.

“This year’s Employee-Owned Business census showed a 113% increase in turnover for businesses owned by their employees compared to 2022, representing a huge boost of £752 million for Scotland’s economy.”

James de le Vingne, Chief Executive of the Employee Ownership Association, said:

“It’s great to welcome Aspect to a growing sector that is Proudly Employee Owned. What a great way to mark EO Day!

“I’m always excited to see Scottish businesses transition to employee ownership, helping fulfil the country’s ambitious targets to grow the inclusive and democratic impact of its economy.

“I look forward to seeing Aspect deliver greater levels of involvement and representation for its employees, and the benefits it’ll bring to its local community.”

Carole Leslie, Employee Ownership Specialist at Employee Ownership Associates UK, said:

"I'm seeing more and more companies take the EOT route and have already completed more transactions in the first half of 2024 than I did in the whole of 2023. For many business owners, it's an ideal way to realise value in their business whilst rewarding their staff by securing the company for the long-term future. It's great news for the economy, too.

“Research demonstrates that employee-owned firms outperform conventionally structured businesses on just about every metric - productivity, profitability, innovation, job satisfaction and customer retention."

Aspect was advised by Blackadders LLP, Cactus Consultants Limited, Ownership Associates UK and Reference Point Advisory Limited.

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