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Willoughby PR managing director Jane Ainsworth becomes majority shareholder

Jo McCarthy, Jane Ainsworth, Julia Willoughby

Willoughby PR (WPR) has been the subject of a management buyout for an undisclosed sum in a deal that sees current managing director, Jane Ainsworth, become the majority shareholder.

Julia Willoughby, the Birmingham-based public relations and digital agency’s founder and chief executive, will retain a significant shareholding in the business along with deputy managing director, Jo McCarthy. Meanwhile, the agency’s head of B2B, Tom Leatherbarrow, will also join the board.

Ainsworth said: “The last 23 years have all been good ones for the agency but we are probably proudest of our achievements in the last three in particular. In that time, we have delivered growth of 33 per cent and been named PR agency of the year twice.

“We can do all this because we are an independent agency, not answerable to a large corporate more interested in our bottom line than in investing in our future. This deal isn’t about change for the agency. It’s protecting our values, maintaining our identity and securing our future as a strong, independent PR and digital agency.”

Established in 1992, WPR employs 43 staff from its offices in Edgbaston.