26% of the group's equity will now reside with previously disadvantaged individuals who have, in the words of Lowe Bull chairman Matthew Bull, "helped us grow the agency into what it is today. In other words, they work for us and are not some empowerment group who have had, and will have, nothing to do with making the agency produce better work for our clients."
The shareholding will be broken into two tranches – 4% being held by agency executives Adiela Emeran-Haron (Head of TV) and Roger Paulse (Cape Town creative director), and 22% being held in a trust to which there are, at present three trustees (Emeran-Haron, Horace Mpanza and Asheen Naidu) and seven beneficiaries – Roger Paulse, Clive April, Wayne Naidoo, Petunia Zwane, Morris Mohonoe, Alex Ndala, Cara Peterson, Riska Emeran. The shares will be purchased from future profits within the group.
The deal was agreed between the local company and international partners late last year.
The trustees and beneficiaries cover the broad spectrum of skills within the agency, right from board directors to administration. "Importantly, we have rewarded people we feel best stand for the values we as a company try and live up to each and every day. These are people who have played an important role, no matter how small, in making Lowe Bull the company it is today, and they will continue to do so into the future", says Bull.
On top of this the agency is also dedicated a percentage of its revenue to go towards bursaries at advertising schools for the previously disadvantaged, as well as for social development outside of the realm of advertising – mostly, says Bull, in the area of education. " We already have a couple of bursaries, including the Horace Mpanza bursary at the Vega School for advertising, and we want to formalize these, as well invest in other areas of education. This part of the project will fall under the guide of Adiela Emeran-Haron, one of the founders of this agency and a holding board member." Emeran-Haron said: "All of us have worked really hard to build this company and to make it a great place to work. It's a wonderful reward for that work, as well as an opportunity for us to extend our influence outside of the workplace. It is every single shareholders duty within the agency to ensure that we better the lives of all those we can, and not just the people of our agency and their immediate families."
The company also announced several other new minority shareholders. Gillian Rightford, Rod Wilson, Rob McLlennan, Sarah Matthams, Marc Tabac and Vanessa Pegler.
Says Bull: "This company belongs to the people who have built it, and who continue to build it. There will be more shares available in the future for the people of this agency. It's true to the entrepreneurial spirit of the place. And it's the right thing to do."
For further information contact Matthew Bull or Gillian Rightford (011 780 6100) or Adiela Emeran-Haron (021 422 5220).