Located in Brodick on the Isle of Arran, Auchrannie is an award-winning resort comprising two 4-star hotels, thirty 5-star self-catering lodges, two leisure clubs, three individually branded restaurants, a children’s Playbarn, an ASPA spa and Arran Adventure outdoor company. It was established by Iain and Linda Johnston in 1988, with Linda heading up the company as managing director and board chair since 2010. The resort has an annual turnover of £6.7million.
Earlier this year Auchrannie announced it had completed its transition to become an employee-owned business, with 160 members of staff becoming owners. An Employee Ownership Trust was formed and holds 100% of the shares on behalf of the employees. The deal was structured in order to make it affordable to the business without affecting its ability to reward the team and reinvest for the future. It marks the first time a hotel or resort in Scotland has become employee-owned.
We spoke to Linda to hear more about the decision to become employee-owned.
“The team were involved in the process from an early stage and were given the opportunity to input throughout. They have very much embraced the concept of employee ownership and are extremely excited about it. They are delighted that Auchrannie’s legacy will be protected and that they have the chance to play an active part in, and benefit from, Auchrannie’s future success. They also realise that what each of them does will affect the future success of the business and that this is directly linked to their own success, so they have already become more engaged in making the business better and understand the power and influence each and every one of them now has on their own future. There is no, ‘them and us’ now, we’re all in this together.
“The transition has been pretty smooth despite the fact that Auchrannie is a complex business; we have been well supported by HIE, CDS, Co-ownership Solutions and Burness Paull. The help we received was invaluable in enabling us to put together the team who lead us through the whole process seamlessly. Although there have been a number of hurdles to jump over, there have been no real lows.
“By transferring the shares to an Employee Ownership Trust, myself and the ex-shareholders have also protected Auchrannie’s contribution to Arran. It is very much part of the community and provides essential wet weather facilities, other amenities and support to the island’s residents and its visitors. The change to employee ownership means that we, along with the community of Arran, can relax knowing that it will always remain an independent, locally run organisation with community values at heart.
“Employee ownership will give the whole Auchrannie team a stake in the continued growth of the business. All of us will work together to build a more efficient, sustainable and profitable business. We are all excited to continue on our journey in which we strive to lead the way in Scottish tourism and create amazing experiences for our guests and an awesome place to work for our team.”
Auchrannie’s transition to employee ownership was supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), with the process managed by Co-ownership Solutions LLP and legal services by Burness Paull LLP.
If you would like to learn more about how employee ownership could benefit your business, please get in touch to arrange a chat with one of our expert advisers.