14th December 2023

Structure becomes an employee-owned business

This year marks twenty years since Jesse and I founded Structure, and we end it with some exciting news – Structure has become an employee-owned business.

Reflecting on our journey this year, embracing employee ownership and all that it entails seems like a fitting way to conclude this chapter of the business and mark the beginning of a promising new one. 

Jesse and I first met while working at a private equity backed creative technology agency, where we saw first hand the good and bad sides of what it meant to work for someone else. For a time, it was a great place to work, forging a path in the dot.com era and pushing the creative boundaries of what was possible in a fledgling new technology landscape. It was exciting, with a completely committed team that pulled together to deliver great work for our clients.

However, when the dot-com bubble burst, things changed quickly. New management came in, and our experience rapidly changed. As the focus shifted to technology and chasing numbers at all costs, the culture changed, and there was little appreciation for the strong and valuable client relationships or of the great work being done.

I’m genuinely thankful for this experience, it shaped the business we wanted to create and have become – quietly focusing on doing great work for our clients, nurturing the relationships we’ve built and treating our clients’ businesses with the same energy and enthusiasm as if they were our own. Throughout this time, we’ve been fortunate to work with some very talented people. I want to take this opportunity to thank them all (past and present) for their contribution to the business we have built together, and continue to grow.

A succession from which everyone can benefit

Succession is a journey that we’ve been on for a while – recognising that to grow, we needed to shift from being a founder-dependent business to one that can become self-sustaining. 

In 2016, we were fortunate to be introduced to Nicole Clemens, who joined us as COO and became our CEO in 2019. Nicole’s leadership has helped us shape the business very differently, recognising the talent around us, our strengths and weaknesses, and preparing us for what is to come. 

We first heard about Employee Ownership in 2019. Almost immediately, it was obvious that this could be a great way to align everyone’s interests – reward a loyal team (with the many benefits of ownership), provide a more meaningful employment opportunity for future talent, and enable Jesse and I to realise the value from our efforts of the past 20 years – we could do all of this at our own pace while preserving the agency’s culture and independence. 

We genuinely believe that employee ownership is a win-win for everyone involved and importantly, for our clients also. While everything changes regarding ownership, the day-to-day is unchanged. Nicole, Jesse and I will continue to lead the business alongside an enlarged management team, through which we will develop our future leaders, ensuring our succession plan is managed in the best way for everyone. And that we can continue to build a team of talented people who are committed and care deeply about their work and our clients. 

We all remain incredibly positive about and committed to Structure, and look forward to seeing how the business will develop over the next 20 years, where the whole team has a vested interest in our ongoing growth, success and the rewards this brings – as partners.

John Galpin, Co-founder.



Design by Structure was co-founded by John Galpin and Jesse Swash in 2003.

Published by: Fara Darvill in News

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