While one trades in Steel and the other in Numbers, two more Scottish companies – Alexander (Scotland) & Co and Glen Drummond Chartered Accountants – have proved they see the value in becoming employee-owned, handing their respective employees a 100% share via the creation of an employee ownership trust (EOT).
It is a choice being made by an increasing number of companies in Scotland as the employee ownership business model becomes more widely understood. We caught up with current owner of Mr Glenn Maclachlan of Alexander (Scotland) & Co and Chris Wilson CA, director of Glen Drummond to find out more about each of their moves.
“Alexander (Scotland) & Co Ltd has been serving steel customers across Central Scotland for almost 75 years. From humble beginnings at a small premises in Stirling, with just a horse and cart for delivery, the company has grown to forty employees with two premises in Stirling and one in Bathgate,” explains Glenn.
“When I came to look at retirement, I was keen to ensure the company started by my grandfather continued to thrive. We looked at the options with Co-operative Development Scotland and creating an EOT seemed to tick a lot of boxes. It offered longevity for the business but also gave control to, and rewarded, the people who were a key part of our success in the first place. The process was relatively speedy given everything that was involved, and I can retire now knowing I have left the business in safe hands.”
Just down the road in Livingston, Glen Drummond Chartered Accountants also took the decision to move into employee ownership.
“As chartered accountants, Glen Drummond were no strangers to the concept of employee ownership,” says Chris. “In fact we helped Alexander (Scotland) & Co Ltd cross the I’s and dot the T’s on their transition – and, having seen the benefits for ourselves, we were confident it would be a good fit for our business too.
“I took over as Director from a founding partner in 2016, it has always been my intention that, when the time came, I would hand the business over to the staff who have worked hard to maintain a high quality of service to clients.
“I had been aware of Employee Ownership for years, having assisted several clients transition their business. I am confident our employees have the right mix of skills, and the positive group attitude needed to continue the success of the business. Together they can now guarantee their own job security, something that may have been a worry with an external sale.”
Chris reflects that there are clear benefits for customers too, adding: “Clients are at the heart of everything we do. Employee ownership allows our customers to continue getting a quality service from the people they know and trust for years to come.”
Scotland is the third largest growth region in the UK for employee-owned businesses and Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), part of Scottish Enterprise, offers guidance and support to companies considering their succession options via a fully funded succession review and employee ownership feasibility study. Support to transition to employee ownership was provided by 4-consulting (Ralph Leishman), TLT LLP (Douglas Roberts), Blackadders (Campbell Clark), Glen Drummond CA and Sharles CA.
If you are considering a succession plan for your business or would like to know more about employee ownership, contact Co-operative Development Scotland via the Scottish Enterprise website.