Wise Productions now employee-owned

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Wise Productions is an events supplier to the likes of Kensington Palace, the V&A, Tower of London and Natural History Museum
Pictured: Wise is an events supplier to the likes of Kensington Palace, the V&A, Tower of London and Natural History Museum

Wise Productions, a live and virtual creative event production company that is an accredited supplier to 38 unique and historic venues including palaces, museums and galleries, is now owned by its employees.

Founder David Wise has sold the business he started in 1990 to his 50-strong “young and talented” team – and has pledged almost £500k to philanthropic causes based around homelessness and music education.

George Foden, who has been with the company since 2015, is the newly-appointed Managing Director and will take over the running of Wise, which is an events supplier to the likes of Kensington Palace, the V&A, Tower of London and Natural History Museum, with David becoming Chairman. 

West London-based Wise, located in Perivale, with a scenic workshop in White City, prides itself on delivering events with a combination of innovative creativity and military precision in the UK’s most magnificent venues.

“As the saying goes, surround yourself with the brightest and the best – selling Wise to the staff is a logical end to this action,” said David. “I have a yen to pursue philanthropic projects, so it is time. George and the new Board are best placed to take the company forward and continue its successful trajectory of growth. The staff will have a greater voice and ultimately, a share of the profits they deliver. The new structure will also help attract and retain new talent.”

Pictured: Wise is an events supplier to the likes of Kensington Palace, the V&A, Tower of London and Natural History Museum

Wise came though the pandemic intact after George led the team to quickly develop a green screen studio offering as an innovative alternative for online events – with Wise recognised as an innovator in the sector, using cutting-edge 3D production techniques to develop virtual environments, which gave clients infinite possibilities when imagining their virtual event backdrop. 

George said: “Wise Productions is a very special place to work, full of incredibly talented individuals who work tirelessly to deliver stunning events for our clients and partner venues. I’m therefore delighted that David has chosen the path of employee-ownership for the business, in recognition of the dedicated team we have and their constant drive for high-quality service. I feel privileged to be leading the business into the next chapter of its history, and grateful that David will continue to support the Board and new owners as Chairman, as we realise our ambitious plans for continued growth and environmentally-sustainable project delivery.” 

Pictured: The talented team at employee-owned Wise Productions, based in West London

Wise Productions has been delivering lighting, sound, video and scenic design for events at the highest level for over 30 years in the most prestigious and logistically-complex venues.

The company is established within the worlds of corporate and private events and its portfolio ranges from international conferences to luxurious weddings.

David added: “Our creativity and military operations are the cornerstone of our offering – we deliver the right aesthetic for every client; planned and timed to perfection so guests barely notice us, with elegant equipment to blend into the stunning surroundings of unique and historic venues, many of which are Grade I Listed.”

Wise was initially set up to deliver lighting and power services to large frame tent companies such as Neptunus and De Boer.

The first museum to appoint Wise as preferred supplier was the Science Museum and in 1991, Wise supplied full production services for the launch of The Japan Festival opened by HRH The Prince of Wales, now King Charles III, and the Crown Prince. 

Whilst at university studying electrical engineering, David ran travelling discotheques, nightclubs and worked part-time for a Wandsworth-based marquee company installing lighting at weekends. 

Meanwhile, George graduated with a law degree, but after several years of being heavily involved in Student’s Union events and entertainments, decided not to pursue a career in law. He moved to London and worked for several years heading up the events team at Queen Mary, University of London before joining Wise as Head of Events in 2015. Having led the sales team to deliver consecutive years of growth in revenue and profitability, George was promoted to the Board in 2019.

With George at the helm as MD, the new Board at Wise includes:

  • Commercial Director – Doug Wintle
  • Creative Director – Jenny Woollard
  • Technical Director – Matt Langford
  • Client Director – Hannah Ferguson
  • Chairman – David Wise.

The Wise team boasts a number of departments covering lighting, sound, set & scenery, staging and video.

The majority of shares in the business have been sold to the Wise Productions Employee Ownership Trust. Shares are held in Trust and indirectly owned by the staff.

Adam Parry
Author: Adam Parry

Adam is the co-founder and editor of www.eventindustrynews.com Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.

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