The directors of Terence O’Rourke have handed ownership of the planning and design consultancy to its staff.
The firm, which has offices in London, Birmingham and Bournemouth, established an employee ownership trust (EOT).
Founded in 1985, Terence O’Rourke has remained in private ownership for more than 36 years, but its board wanted to secure a sustainable succession strategy.
Directors decided an EOT was the best way for the consultancy to remain independent; better reward staff; maintain standards and ethics; and offer the best possible client care.
They believe the EOT offers an extension of the company’s existing inclusive characteristics, values and culture, and will allow the business to embrace social enterprise and employee engagement in the future.
While the new structure will not alter the day-to-day management of the business, which will continue to be run by its board of directors, it is hoped it will remove financial barriers for future leaders.
Directors said the model also provides assurance that the business will continue to be run by people with a passion for its quality and reputation.
Chairman Tim Hancock said: “The establishment of the EOT will provide comfort to clients regarding the long-term independence of Terence O’Rourke while enabling employees to have collective control of their future, benefitting directly from the company’s success.”
Managing director Jacqueline Mulliner added: “The EOT represents a fantastic legacy. All the current directors have been with the business for much of their careers and have appreciated the independence and support the company has been able to offer.
“Being able to secure these career opportunities for current and future staff is a significant moment in the firm’s history and progression. Before finalising the EOT we spoke to our staff and gained unanimous support for the approach.
“Transition to an EOT is something of which we are all very proud.”