Orchard Team To Take Ownership

With the original founders moving on, the ownership of the business will be transferred to Orchard’s staff from October 1st this year, when an employee owned trust will own and manage the company.
Award-winning communications agency the Orchard Media and Events Group is 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 in putting the business in the hands of its 70 strong team to protect its future independence.

Orchard has been providing a range of creative communications services to clients in Wales and across the world for 14 years, from Welsh Government to Principality Building Society, Aston Martin and Qatar Airways to Nando’s, the AA and Netflix. The agency creates corporate and public events for NATO, UEFA, and Johnson & Johnson; produces film content for Visit Wales, TV programmes for BBC, S4C, Channel 4, and National Geographic; and advises on sponsorships and partnerships for the likes of the RFU, the International Chamber of Commerce, and Orbex.

With the original founders moving on, the ownership of the business will be transferred to Orchard’s staff 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.

Orchard co-founder and outgoing Operations Director Al Wilson said:

“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.

“We‘re grateful to Andrew Evans at Geldards and Paul Cantrill, a Specialist EO Consultant with Cwmpas for their specialist EOT knowledge and invaluable support in getting us to this point. 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”.

Joint chief executive Jim Carpenter said:

“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. 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 3 liability for individual workers, but instead a great incentive to ensure the business continues to thrive”.

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17/01/2024
An Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) is a relatively simple way for a company to become employee owned and is far simpler to manage than allocating all the shares to employees individually.