Julia Willoughby, founder of Birmingham-based Willoughby PR is to step down as managing director after nearly 16 years at the helm.

Jane Ainsworth will take over as managing director and Jo McCarthy as deputy managing director.

Both have been with Willoughby for over a decade and have been company directors for nearly three years.

Ms Willoughby will continue as chief executive. She said; “The time is right for me to hand over the reins to the next generation. The business is fantastic shape; in fact in our 16-year history we have never looked better.“Both Jane and Jo have been central to this success. Over the last ten years they have helped to make Willoughby PR the business it is today.

“We have been evolving the management responsibilities for some time, so this was a natural progression and it reflects the structure we need to grow further.”

Ms Ainsworth is charged with business growth and development whilst Ms McCarthy will assume responsibility for key operations and performance.

Ms Ainsworth said: “WPR is at an exciting stage in its development and we have an ambitious five year plan. We started off the year with some great client wins and we are keen to capitalise on our core strengths moving forward.

“We have already overhauled our brand and image and we launched our new website just a few weeks ago. This has shown clients and colleagues our combined vision for the company and has been extremely well received.”