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11am, Friday 12th February 2021

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BUMPS AND BRUISES: Why Selling An Agency Isn’t Always The Smoothest of Rides

  • What’s it like to sell your agency to a bigger business?

  • How does it feel when you have a boss again?

  • Don’t miss Lisa’s story if an earn-out is likely to be part of your future

Lisa Paasche resigned as CEO of Verve after a three-year earn-out, in late 2020.

“The freedom is such a relief – I was completely mentally drained,” she admits.

Lisa started Verve in 2009, and sold it to Omnicom in 2017.

It took nine months to negotiate the deal – three of those were spent on a particular clause which included all the things they couldn’t make me do.”

Those three years under Omnicom were starkly different for Lisa. 

“Being within an organisation that is very different to how I did things was very challenging for me. It’s like being an alien. I was so aware of not talking like them, behaving like them or pitching like them.”

In the final year of working under Omnicom, and the final year of her earn-out, the pandemic hit. Rather than leave them to fend for themselves, she felt she couldn’t leave her employees until she’d ensured they were in the best possible position.

“I had to make redundancies, I had everyone on furlough for as long as I could,” says Lisa. “I couldn’t really justify leaving all my people in the hands of the corporate company to handle their future, so I stayed on until it was all sorted. By September, I was knackered. It was really challenging.”

Lisa resigned. But despite her exhaustion and stress, she wouldn’t change a thing. While Lisa struggled to reconcile these differences in leadership and approach, she learned a great deal about herself.

“I have learned more in the last 12 months than I have in my entire career. The story of all of this is that we can do so much more than we think we can, and we can keep on going.”

This is a chance to hear about Lisa’s bumpy ride to exiting an agency she built from the ground up – perfect if you’re thinking of doing the same.