Dominic Smales, the founder of U.K.-based digital talent management firm Gleam Futures — and a key architect behind the careers of several of YouTube‘s earliest stars, including the Pixiwoo sisters, Zoe Sugg, and Marcus Butler — is stepping down from his post as CEO, effectively immediately.

“Eleven years ago, with Costa Coffee as my office, I founded a talent business,” Smales said in a statement. “Over the years, we have published books, made movies, built brands, traveled the world, opened offices on three continents, made TV shows, broken records, laughed a lot, cried a bit, and everything in between. It’s been a joy and a privilege to be allowed to do all this with people I love spending time with.”

Smales was vague about next steps, adding, “It’s time now for me to spend some more time with my family, give attention to some exciting new projects, and see what the universe throws at me next.”

Gleam was founded by Smales in 2010 and acquired by ad giant Dentsu Aegis in 2017. Last April, the company launched Gleam Entertainment — a 360-degree talent management arm for celebrities who began their careers on mainstream platforms. Prior to that, it had launched an influencer marketing division dubbed Gleam Solutions in May 2019.

Smales’ departure arrives roughly a week after Sam and Nic Champan — the beauty duo known as the Pixiwoo sisters, who marked his first two clients — announced that they were retiring from their careers as creators. In a LinkedIn post, Smales mused about breaking new ground with the sisters and other Gleam clients over the years, including the development of their multimillion dollar beauty brand, Real Techniques, as well as forays into the book business (with Alfie Deyes‘ The Pointless Book) and feature films (Joe And Caspar Hit The Road).

In Smales’ absence, COO Phil Hughes has been appointed Gleam’s chief commercial officer, while global head of talent Lucy Loveridge has been upped to managing partner. Both will lead Gleam going forward, reporting to James Morris, Dentsu International’s CEO of creative for the U.K. and Ireland.

“Despite the complexities of the year, Gleam continues to go from strength to strength, having its most successful year to date in 2020,” Morris said in a statement. “We are extremely optimistic about the prospects for the future of Gleam within Dentsu and look forward to building on this success with Lucy and Phil.”

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