Sean Clarke has been named the new managing director of Aardman.
Clarke replaces studio co-founder and managing director David Sproxton, who steps down from the role after 43 years. Sproxton joined Aardman more than 20 years ago as head of consumer products in 1998 and leaves his position as head of the International Rights and Marketing Department to take the helm as managing director.
“It’s a honor to be taking on the MD role and a privilege to be leading Aardman in this exciting new era of employee ownership,” says Clarke. “The studio’s strength has always been in its visionary creativity and storytelling expertise which, combined, mean that we can adapt to new platforms and changes in the way we consume entertainment while 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.”
Co-founded by Peter Lord and Sproxton in 1976, Aardman transitioned into employee ownership in November 2018 to secure its creative and cultural legacy for decades to come
Sproxton will continue his connection with the studio by sitting on the Trustee Board as well as applying his decades of film-making experience to a number of projects as a consultant.
“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,” says Sproxton. “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.”