For the last 3 years, we have been considering our business ownership succession options. Like many other business founders, we were keen to identify a succession plan that allows us to significantly reduce our majority shareholding, whilst ensuring that our loyal staff are rewarded and our clients, partners and suppliers have assurance that they can continue to rely on us as a trusted business partner.
We are now delighted to share with you our decision to have the practice operate as an Employee Owned company from September 2022 onwards. In essence, we will have a similar ownership structure to that of well-known household names such as the John Lewis Partnership, Arup, Mott MacDonald and Make.
In practical terms, the practice will see two thirds of its shares transferred to a Planit‑IE Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) and the remaining third will be retained by existing shareholders and two new members — Georgina Baines and Kevin Redhead (long serving company employees and new Directors).
As part of this change, we are delighted to announce that Helen Wright, Head of Development at Sanctuary Housing, and long-term friend of the practice, has agreed to become our first Independent Trust Chair. With a career spent in social housing, Helen will bring the necessary key skills and perspectives to ensure we deliver on our mission — for our people and for the planet.
Why are we moving to Employee Ownership?
There isn’t one simple answer, but our key reasons are these…
We believe the shift will herald the start of a new, vibrant and dynamic chapter in Planit-IE’s future. Having spent 25 years building the practice from scratch, Ed and I had no intention of looking for a trade sale, and the move to Employee Ownership means Planit-IE will never need to.
There is compelling research to show that a combination of shared ownership and employee participation results in a business that is more engaged, innovative, productive, and sustainable — building on Planit-IE’s existing hallmarks.
Planit-IE is proud to be Certified B Corporation and our commitment to it sits at the heart of our work, our people, and our stewardship of the world we live in. Our team are fierce advocates of the B Corp ‘Triple Bottom Line’ and Employee Ownership is a logical component of delivering on those commitments.
There will be no change to Planit-IE’s focus and accountability. The existing Directors and Studio Directors will continue to run the practice in the same way and Ed and Pete, as Founders, will continue to steer the company’s strategic direction during this formative stage.
Lastly, but certainly not least, we would like to express our gratitude to our many partners and clients who shared their own Employee Ownership structures and experiences with us including insights from Curtins Consulting and Hawkins\Brown — they have helped us to shape Planit-IE’s exciting new chapter.
Ed Lister and Pete Swift
30 September 2022