Altrincham, Cheshire-based professional services advisory business Oakwood Corporate Services has become employee owned after forming an employee ownership trust (EOT).
Founded in 2009 by Michael Harris and Muriel Thorne, the company, which has 31 employees, has established itself as a provider of secretarial, formation and compliance services. It works with listed groups, private equity-backed companies, small- to medium-sized enterprises and not-for-profit organisations, such as MoneySupermarket, Countrywide, JD Sports and The Hut Group.
Harris and Thorne will remain active in the business following the transfer of a majority shareholding to an employee trust, and will be joined on the board of directors by Lauren Cavanagh. All three will also act as trustees of the EOT, along with finance and systems manager Joanne Howarth, who has been with Oakwood since its inception.
According to Oakwood, every member of the team now has a financial stake in the organisation. Through employee ownership, it will promote a culture of collaboration and innovation, encourage greater employee engagement and promote personal development, wellbeing and job satisfaction.
Harris explained that he and Thorne had created ways of working and a culture that both staff and clients really appreciate, and they wanted to protect the values and ethos of the business which have helped it grow so successfully.
“We believe that our status as an independent, employee owned business secures Oakwood’s long-term future and reflects our commitment to technical excellence and outstanding service delivery. We feel that the transition to employee ownership is a fantastic opportunity to build on our successes over the past 12 years, and recognises the loyalty, dedication and sheer hard work of our team,” he said.
Advisers on the transaction were Emily Alston and Louise Fisher of Baxendale for legal and specialist employee ownership advice, Jeremy Cole of Cole Associates on the corporate finance side, and Ben Furness of Allens Accountants.