David Sproxton is stepping down as the managing director of Aardman, it’s been announced.

The brilliant Aardman has a new film in cinemas next month in the shape of Farmageddon: A Shaun The Sheep Movie. But it’s going to be the last of its features brought to the screen with David Sproxton as the company’s managing director.

Sproxton has headed up Aardman since he co-founded the company with Peter Lord 43 years ago. And it’s now been announced that he’s stepping back from his role. He’ll continue to see on the trustee board of the company, and work across the company’s slate of projects. Furthermore, one of Sproxton’s last major acts as MD was to transition the company to employee ownership in November of last year, to secure its creative and cultural independence, and reward those who bring it success.

In Sproxton’s place comes Sean Clarke, who has more than 20 years of Aardman experience under his belt, having spent the last decade as its head of international rights and marketing.

Peter Lord remains creative director at the firm.

The relevant people have given the expected enthusiastic quotes.

Sproxton said in a statement that “we were determined to find the best possible candidate for the role, which is critical for securing the studio’s future especially in its Employee Owned incarnation. I am delighted that Sean cut through very strong competition to take my place. He has a deep understanding of the creative culture at Aardman – which will ensure continuity – in addition to a very strong, clear and exciting strategy to take the company forward, so it will certainly not be resting on its laurels. There are wonderful projects on the slate with new creative talent behind them and the future looks very bright. I am more than confident that with Sean leading the Executive Board the company will thrive”.

As for Clarke, he added that “it’s an honour to be taking on the MD role and a privilege to be leading Aardman in this exciting new era of Employee Ownership. The studio’s strength has always been in its visionary creativity and storytelling expertise which, combined, mean that we are able to adapt to new platforms and changes in the way we consume entertainment whilst delivering consistently inspiring, funny and engaging animation. Ensuring that our independent spirit and our unique blend of innovation and integrity remain at the heart of everything we do – while nurturing and supporting sensational new creatives alongside our existing roster of incredible talent – will be a guiding principle”.

And on, thankfully, Aardman goes. Long may it continue.

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