Developing our future

Creo undertake a Management Buyout

Creo’s founding director Richard Ward has completed a management buyout, selling 75 per cent of the business to his three co-directors.

Starting out as a two-man company operating from a bedroom in 1999, CREO is now one of Wales’ most established agencies with a team of 12 and a client portfolio that includes Microsoft, BMW, Welsh Government, NHS Wales and Snowdonia National Park.

Creative director Jordan Thorne, strategic director Kat Shaw and technical director Nick Coakley have acquired 75 per cent of CREO from Richard Ward, who retains a 25 per cent share. They become joint owners of the business with a six-figure loan from the Development Bank of Wales secured as finance.

Richard Ward first established the business alongside Andrew Ashton who he later bought out in 2019.

“A large part of our success and growth over the years is down to the talented and dedicated people we have in our team,” said Ward. “CREO has been a massive part of my life for the past 22 years and making the decision to hand part of that over meant finding the right management team.

“Having benefitted from the support of the Development Bank when I bought out Andrew as co-founder, I knew that it made absolute sense to work with them again on this deal.”

Technical Director Nick Coakley was CREO’s first employee.

He said: “As CREO’s first ever employee it’s been a pleasure watching CREO grow into something special over the last 20 years. Seeing the company evolve and adapt to an ever changing technical and strategic landscape has been a rewarding and challenging experience and I am really honoured that I now have the opportunity to be part of the team leading the next stage of our journey with the on-going support of Richard as a shareholder.”

Creative director Jordan Thorne joined CREO in 2015. He said: “I think we’re at an incredibly exciting moment in the organisation’s history. We’ve gelled and bedded in as a team over the last two years and really made strides in who we approach and how we approach them.

“What’s most important for me is the ability to be selective, to really focus on quality clients with shared values.”

Strategic director Kat Shaw added: “We’ve developed our offering over recent years and now approach projects from a branding-first perspective. This gives clients better end results with greater return on investment whilst expanding our own product offering. I’m personally looking forward to developing this further and continuing to build a strong branding agency that delivers on clients’ digital needs.”

Daniel Kinsey, a portfolio executive with the Development Bank of Wales, said: “CREO Interactive has evolved from a website development company into a leading full-service agency that is profitable and has longevity. Having bought out his co-founder in 2019, Richard has first-hand experience of the benefits of a management buyout. He has therefore focussed on investing in and developing an experienced management team to prepare them for the handover as well as incentivising them to want to be part of the future.

“Nick, Jordan and Kat take control at what has been an incredibly successful few years for the business and will now build upon and implement a new growth strategy with the on-going support of Richard to minimise risk and ensure consistency in terms of client service.”

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