Brit studio Aardman Animations is converting 75% of the company to Employee Ownership. Co-founders Peter Lord (pictured left) and David Sproxton (pictured right) announced that they are effectively selling Aardman to its 140 employees in order to ensure that the company remains independent and continues to build on a creative legacy that includes hit franchises such as Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run and Shaun the Sheep.
The majority of Aardman’s shares will be transferred into a trust on behalf of the company’s workforce, and its senior management team will remain in their current roles but will now also form an executive board.
Sproxton plans to stay on as managing director, but will be looking to find and hire his replacement within the next year so he can transition into a consulting position. Lord, meanwhile, will keep serving as Aardman’s creative director, with a focus on feature film output. Upcoming movies on the slate include Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (fall 2019) and Chicken Run 2 (in development).
Members of the executive board of directors now include four-time Oscar-winning director Nick Park, Carla Shelley (executive director of feature production), Heather Wright (executive director of partner content), Kerry Lock (finance director), Paula Newport (director of people and culture), Sarah Cox (executive creative director of intellectual property development) and Sean Clarke (executive director of rights and brand management).
The sale of the company to its workforce comes on the heels of the company picking up distribution rights to Tinker Labs’ Interstellar Ella, and Alphablocks’ Alphablocks and Numberblocks.