March 3, 2021

Born Social announce buyout – leadership team become majority shareholders

Born Social, the London-based social media agency, has today announced a management buyout with the six-strong leadership team taking a 75% share of the business.

Founded by Rob O’Donovan and Ben Gateley in 2012 as part of start-up studio, The Eleven, Born Social has grown into one of the UK’s foremost social media agencies managing campaigns for a roster of big-name brands including: Kopparberg; Nando’s; Wagamama; Tinder and Snickers.

The leadership team (from left to right) is made up of Dan Jarrett, Executive Finance Director and Partner; Abbey Mills, Executive Client Services Director and Partner; Ben Tyson, CEO and Partner; Charlotte Hamill, COO and Partner; Callum McCahon, Executive Strategy Director and Partner and Paddy Smith, ECD and Partner. The founders, Rob and Ben, will retain a 25% stake but will no longer sit on the board.

Commenting on the decision to move to a management-owned business, Ben Tyson says: “We’ve always prided ourselves on driving industry change with the belief that social will become the lead channel for the next generation of brilliant brands. And with an ambitious vision for continued growth, we knew we needed to have the right leadership and business structure in place and to invest in the very best senior talent.”

‘Heads-of’ announced

Alongside the shift in ownership, Born Social can also announce two new senior hires: Harry Fishwick as Head of Creative and Hannah Wolff as Head of Social Media Management.

Harry joins from TUI, the world’s number-one tourism business, where he held the role of Video Marketing Manager and Hannah joins from Three UK where she was lead creative in the social and PR team. They join a team that includes Essi Nurminen and Kate Higham who have been promoted to Head of Strategy and Head of Operations respectively and Ed Knights who is Head of New Business and Marketing.

“Since day one we’ve been a people-focused business and the creation of our Heads of team and internal leadership development programme allows us to continue along that path in a time where wellbeing and work satisfaction are being challenged by the ongoing pandemic” says Ben Tyson, CEO and Partner, Born Social “And this investment in building the next generation of leaders at Born Social is testament to the strength of our clients and teams. We now have an exceptional team in place to help drive the next phase of the business.”

Whilst 2020 was a challenge for every business, Born Social has continued to grow with employee numbers swelling to 56, year-on-year growth of 40%, a turnover of £4.5m and continued growth predicted for 2021.

The management buyout was completed for an undisclosed sum.