Skip to content

Business & Economy

Strategic move sees Karol Marketing acquire Fusion PR Creative

Leading North East PR and communications agency Karol Marketing has announced the acquisition of Fusion PR Creative. The move will drive forward a vision to offer the very highest level of strategic communications, marketing, digital, public affairs and public relations expertise to its regional, national, and international client base.

The buy-out follows the appointment of Fusion PR Creative’s founder John McCabe as chief executive at North East England Chamber of Commerce, and builds upon significant results achieved by Fusion and Karol for existing clients across sports and the renewable energy, construction and regeneration, healthcare, hospitality and leisure industries.

Both companies will continue to operate under their respective brands within the new group, working on behalf of their regional, national and global clients.

This new venture will allow for further growth as it will help carve out and realise new business opportunities, enabling some of the region’s leading companies to access the very best strategic communications expertise locally.

Founded by Stefan Lepkowski in 1992, Karol Marketing is one of the North East’s longest established integrated and multi-award-winning PR, digital and creative communications agencies.

The company has secured five major new clients in the last 12 months adding to a portfolio which includes Mental Health Concern, Eldon Square and Agilio Software, as well as leading consumer brands Keela, Montane, Vango, EDZ and Ventile, and has seen billings jump by 61.7 per cent.

Fusion has also continued to show strong performance over the last two years, representing clients such as Northumbria University, The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Collaborative Newcastle, The Great North Care Record (delivered in partnership with Karol), The UK Pellet Council (Biomass Heat Works!), AkzoNobel and Bernicia Group.

Both companies will now consolidate and strengthen their market specialisms, skills and expertise as one group, with Karol coming together with members of the Fusion team who will remain in key roles, and there will be new investment in staff and increased resources.

Stefan Lepkowski, group managing director, says: “This is a strategic and purposeful move designed to reinforce and strengthen our long-standing commitment to the region, providing the very highest level of strategic communications, public affairs, marketing and PR expertise to the North East’s business community.

“We’re proud to work with, and alongside, the businesses, charities and public sector organisations that make up this thriving and vibrant part of the world.

“Fusion is the absolute perfect fit for Karol, bringing a highly specialist and exemplar skillset to our offering for clients, especially B2B companies and public sector organisations, who may be operating on a very local level or UK-wide and beyond.”

The acquisition of Fusion PR Creative is the culmination of several strategic appointments made over the last two years by Karol Marketing. Former vice-chairman of Bond Dickinson and non-executive director John Marshall was appointed as an advisor to the leadership team, and past NGI client and communications director Kathie Wilcox also joined the team on a consultancy basis as associate director, working alongside Stefan to develop the strategy and lead the team. Both John and Kathie have played key roles in securing the deal.

Stefan continues: “By working as we do in the way that we do, both companies have achieved huge results for clients, whether it be growing their business and market share, lobbying Government, delivering crisis comms, developing strategy or getting them talked about and seen (positively) by their target customers.

“Much of our work is done behind the scenes, but the results speak for themselves, and we have become integral to many organisations by adding considerable value. By investing in our team, we anticipate that these results will get even better, and both businesses will continue to thrive.

“I want the Karol Marketing Group to play an integral role in delivering marketing and communications services to North East-based businesses and organisations and, to that end, I will be embarking on a recruitment drive aimed at attracting the very best talent to support, what I already firmly believe, is the best group of communications experts in the North.”

Commenting on the deal, John McCabe says: “I have great admiration for Stefan and for Karol Marketing.

“It’s a business which has stood the test of time but, as Stefan has shown with the purchase of Fusion and the other appointments he has made to his team, it continues to innovate and stay at the top. I wish Stefan and his new team all the very best for the future, and I’m confident great things lie in store for this outstanding business.”


Karol Marketing
A leading integrated PR, digital and creative communications agency, Karol Marketing uses its unique expertise and three decades of experience to deliver award-winning, impactful campaigns for clients. For more information, visit