A team from Fieldfisher led by partner Graeme Nuttall OBE advised Agilisys on its transition to employee ownership.
Agilisys is a fast growing IT and business services partner.
Agilisys announced this move as a significant step forward in the evolution of their business, it has now created an Employee Ownership Trust (“EOT”), modelled on the approach of mutual companies such as John Lewis Partnership. This means that the trust holds the majority shareholding in the company on behalf of all employees. The EOT exists to secure the continuation of Agilisys as a successful, independent and professionally managed business for the benefit of its employees. The new structure will allow employees to have greater engagement and ownership in how the business operates and ensure that they benefit from its future growth and successes.
EOTs were introduced following the findings of the influential ‘Nuttall Review of Employee Ownership’ for the Government in 2012. The legislative changes were made in 2014. The Government has wholeheartedly endorsed employee-owned business models of all types and, consequently, such models have gained further recognition as being in the best interest of employees and customers. Independent research shows that businesses who have adopted an employee ownership model report better financial performance, improved productivity, improved employee engagement and improvements in the products and services delivered to customers. Agilisys believes that the EOT further differentiates the company from other businesses with traditional ownership models, making Agilisys an attractive proposition for organisations seeking to work with an ethical employee-driven partner.
Although the EOT will now have an active role within the business, there are no major changes anticipated to Agilisys’ management structure and the founder shareholders and Board will continue to actively support the business.
On this transaction, Fieldfisher worked with Blenheim Chalcot and Howard Law.
Graeme Nuttall OBE, partner at Fieldfisher, and, as the Government's independent adviser on employee ownership, author of the Nuttall Review of Employee Ownership, commented:
"This move to employee ownership by Agilisys is highly significant. It happened because of the Government's recent support for employee ownership and the tangible steps the Government took to promote this under-utilized model for better business including the introduction of employee-ownership trusts. Agilisys shows that employee ownership works in large businesses, as well as SMEs. It also shows how employee ownership can help bring further growth to an already successful business. Employee ownership enhances and sustains employee engagement by providing all staff with a significant and meaningful stake in their company".
Charles Mindenhall, Chairman and one of the Agilisys Founders said:
"I am delighted that we have created the Agilisys Employee Ownership Trust and that the majority of the business is now owned by the trust for the benefit of colleagues. I believe that by introducing significant employee ownership it will provide an exciting structure for the continued growth of Agilisys which is strongly consistent with and a natural extension to the collaborative culture and principles which are in place within the Agilisys group. I am excited about the future of the business, and as the Chairman look forward to continuing to deliver important services to our existing customers as well as the opportunity to work with new prospective clients.
In Agilisys' announcement of its move to employee ownership, The Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, said:
"As an innovative company providing services to government, I am delighted that Agilisys has recently adopted the new “John Lewis-style mutual” Employee Ownership Trust model. The government totally supports employee owned business models. Research has demonstrated that giving employees a ‘stake’ in the organisation they work for drives increased performance in the services they provide, delivers improved employee commitment, and is overall better for the UK economy."
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