Stepping Back: When is the Right Time to Pass the Agency Baton?

by | Dec 18, 2020

After 18 years of being managing director of Studio Output, Dan Moore realised it was time to move on.

“We were doing some great work, but we were facing the most challenging trading conditions since starting the agency.”

“The only way to get through it was to basically strip the engine down… and after a lot of thinking I came to the conclusion that for Output to survive and thrive, one of the things we needed to strip back was me.”

Output is one of several projects Dan shares with his business partners Rob and Ian.

“If we were going to make this transition, there were two things: what’s the appetite of the senior team to take it over and carry that responsibility? And how quickly can they get up to speed?”

In September 2020, they passed the baton to Gemma Ballinger (now managing director) and Johanna Drewe (creative director), while remaining as shareholders.

“This was only going to work successfully if they felt they could really start to put their mark on the business, on the culture, on the way of doing things and on the decisions they could make around the kind of work they’re doing” he says.

“Come the start of September, I took myself off every shared document, deleted all the passwords… but I’m still going to be there in the background like an annoying dad”.

“We needed it to feel like it’s theirs and they can make key decisions, albeit with the safety net of us shareholders.”
In this session, Dan will be joined by Gemma to talk all about approaching a change in leadership, realising when it’s time to say goodbye, and broaching these difficult conversations with business partners and employees alike.

This will be a good insight for anyone toying with the idea of passing the baton but is perhaps unsure about stepping off the track.