Power to the people – Woods Hardwick shifts to employee-led ‘John Lewis ownership’ model

Woods Hardwick
Woods Hardwick Limited can announce it has become an employee-owned business in June 2022 as part of its long term succession strategy.

Woods Hardwick have been a leading multi-disciplinary built environment practice for nearly 60 years and have moved over to a 100% Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

This is similar to the John Lewis model of ownership where profit is distributed amongst staff rather than a select number of shareholders.

The decision has been made to deliver a smooth transition to future leaders of the business and to reward staff across the business for their invaluable contribution to the company’s growth.

Former shareholders Calum Wilson, Jason Leonard, John Freeman and Tom Francis will remain in their current director posts.

Calum Wilson, who is a director for Woods Hardwick and been with the business for over 30 years, said: “We’re an independent firm and our staff are our most vital asset so it’s a great opportunity to give back and reward everyone’s efforts.

“We’ve got plans to extensively grow the business across our London, Birmingham and Bedford offices and moving over to an employee-owned business will give us the chance to attract the best employees and talent across the UK.

“This marks the start of a five year transition period where the former owners will coach and develop the next generation of directors.

“For our clients it still remains business and operations as usual and this decision will allow us to carry on serving the sectors we’ve worked in for nearly 60 years.”

Carol Smith, who works in the business support team at the Bedford office, said: “This news really shows how valued we are by Woods Hardwick and gives us a real chance to help it grow and be rewarded for our work and effort.”

Charlie Gilbert, who is an engineer in the Birmingham office and has been with Woods Hardwick for five years, added: “This is really welcome news for all the staff.

“It gives us an opportunity to really have our say in what direction the business takes and with the cost of living starting to take hold for many the chance to share in the company’s success is exciting.”