Pioneering Orchard Team Takes Ownership of the Business

We are so excited to announce that we are setting up an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT), one of a small number of Welsh pioneers who are following well-known brands such as John Lewis Partnership, Aardman, and Riverford and putting Orchard in the hands of our 70 strong team to protect its future independence.

With our original founders moving on, the ownership of the business will be transferred to our team from October 1st this year, when an employee-owned trust will own and manage the company, the latest Welsh business to take this increasingly popular corporate route.

“When we looked at the options for succession planning, the EOT model stood out for us as a way to repay the hard work and commitment of the team here, and give them this huge opportunity to take Orchard into an exciting future. The ethos behind EOTs aligns well with the values we’ve nurtured in the company, and we know that the leadership and wider team are the people best placed to benefit from its future success. ”
Al Wilson
Orchard co-founder and outgoing Operations Director

EOTs are becoming an increasing popular way to keep corporate ownership within the country of origin, in this case Wales, to secure jobs and provide more opportunities for talent to build their careers here.

The EOT transfers ownership of the company to a trust, whose trustees of senior figures within Orchard and independent specialists will look after the interests of all employees. Current shareholders will be re-imbursed over time, proportionate to the financial performance of the agency, which will also influence the level of bonuses available to employees. There is no cost or liability for individual workers, but instead a great incentive to ensure the business continues to thrive.

Welsh Government is looking to double the number of businesses in Wales that are employee-owned by 2026 (from 2022), and supports the Employee Ownership Wales service at the development agency Cwmpas to ensure Wales-based companies remain in Welsh hands.

While ownership changes, it’s very much business as usual, with the current senior management team keeping hold of the reins, and a new Group Board bringing the skills and experience of a number of senior corporate figures to drive the firm’s strategic direction.

We‘re grateful to Andrew Evans at Geldards and Paul Cantrill, a Corporate Advisor with Cwmpas for their specialist EOT knowledge and invaluable support.

“We’ve had a great reaction to the news from the team that’s built the business – they recognise the EOT protects Orchard’s independence, sustains our successful working practices and values that might have been compromised in a trade sale, and avoids businesses coming in from outside to asset-strip the company.”
Jim Carpenter

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