CEO Blog


More employee ownership is essential for economy and society in post-Brexit UK

From when the Industrial Strategy Green Paper was launched and then as the snap election prompted manifestos from the main three parties, I have not hidden my disappointment that they do not fully acknowledge the role Employee Ownership plays and the impact it could have in supporting the UK economy. In the Conservative manifesto, the party announced its plans for representation of workers on company boards. Whilst these plans may force listed companies to either create stakeholder advisory panels, designate an existing non-executive director as the employee represent...

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CEO Blog: Employee ownership is the real deal

The new narrative of ‘post truth’, ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ should not be viewed as simply a harmless evolution of modern vocabulary. These new phrases are seeping into society and are gradually starting to undermine public trust; in everything from the business of news reporting, the opinions of experts, the role of politicians and even the decisions of the judiciary. In a world of social media, instant communication and Presidential tweets, the impact of this new narrative is hugely concerning, as a society without trust is a broken society. ...

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We can do better; shining a light on corporate governance in employee owned businesses

In inviting responses to the Corporate Governance Reform Green Paper, government has reignited an important debate to consider the impact of the current structures of corporate governance of the UK’s listed or quoted businesses on society and the economy. At a time when trust in many of the UK’s biggest and most important institutions is at rock bottom, the economy is experiencing uncertain times, and with an urgent need to maintain consumer confidence, the publishing of this Green Paper opens up a much-needed dialogue about how business can do better. Ask any of ...

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CEO viewpoint: ‘The ownership effect’

I recently had the pleasure of presenting at the Co-operative Party conference, ‘In our interest; building an economy for all’, where the topic was responsible business. Obviously, this is something close to the heart of the EOA as it is a phrase frequently used to describe the way in which businesses that the EOA represents, those that are employee owned. The sector, which employs over 300k people, and contributes around £30bn to the economy each year, that’s about 4% of GDP,  is growing at pace - at about 10% per annum, as entrepreneurs use the model to ...

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A tale of two cities; reflections on the Autumn Statement

Having returned to my desk after our Annual Conference, on the day of what we now know is to be the last Autumn Statement, I was struck by the stark contrast in the two events. At our Conference in Birmingham I was in the company of almost 650 wonderful employee owners who were optimistic, collaborative, passionate and purposed about how to deliver better business. This annual gathering is the highlight of the employee ownership year, and is the biggest opportunity each year to focus attention on a part of the economy worth over £30bn, and at 4%, makes a larger ...

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Employees on boards? We’re already on it.

In the immediate aftermath of the prime minister’s brave call for more ‘employees on boards’ I was saddened, but not altogether surprised, by some of the immediate defiance to the idea. For businesses in the Employee Ownership Association (EOA) membership, the response has, unsurprisingly, been far more positive.  It reinforces what many of them know – that having employees engaged at every level of business operation is a hugely positive thing to do. As revealed in a recent survey of employee owned businesses, conducted by the brilliant Professors Andrew ...

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All change – what the EU Referendum might mean for the growth of employee ownership

Politicians are debating. Lobbyists are championing. Commentators are pondering. Business leaders are worrying. And the majority of the population are still somewhat confused, wondering whether there will be any sudden clarity before the EU Referendum to help us cast our vote with more confidence. Whilst there are different scenarios being described about the likely impact of the result, the honest truth is that no one knows for sure what the outcome of the vote next week will mean – to the UK, to business or to the individual. However, what most people do agree is ...

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Summer Dinner 2016 Address

A real highlight of the EOA’s events calendar, our annual Summer Dinner – my first as CEO – took place on Thursday 9th June at the Palace of Westminster. As part of the evening, I had the pleasure of addressing more than 150 of our members and felt very lucky to be doing so in such wonderful surroundings and, of course, at such a momentous time.  You could almost smell the anticipation of what might happen there on 23 June. Whilst the EU referendum campaign has been polarised – and in most people’s opinion, too-often negative – the one thing that most ...

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Less New Year and more New Dawn?

By Deb Oxley, CEO of the EOA At the start of each New Year, most of us look with optimism and hope at what the next 12 months might deliver.  And with the usual excesses of the season behind us, we make promises and set targets to stop doing things – don’t eat certain things, don’t smoke, don’t drink (at least for a while!).  Unfortunately most of these big promises fail as they are too ambitious, forcing us to make too many big changes all at once, and they are about not doing the things we are used to doing. An alternative way of thinking might be that, ...

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Leading The Way

In his latest Chief Executive Blog Iain Hasdell discusses how the UK is now a leading European force on employee ownership.

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Taking the Chance

In his latest Chief Executive Blog Iain Hasdell discusses how the July UK Budget can help keep the employee ownership sector booming.

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Our Leap Forward

In his latest Chief Executive Blog, Iain Hasdell discusses the remarkable growth of employee ownership in the UK.

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A Silk Hat

Iain discusses the General Election and the resurgence of employee ownership in the last three years...

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A Better Way of Doing Business

Employee ownership remains the fastest growing form of business in the UK...

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Phenomenal Year Ahead

Monthly blog from the EOA's Chief Executive Iain Hasdell...

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Mould in Our Hands

It has been a brilliant, unprecedented twelve months for employee ownership in the UK....

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Our Hidden Deficit

A hugely positive outcome of the 2008/9 financial crash has been the emergence of a broad consensus on one of the biggest challenge facing the UK economy and our public services. It has taken a long time. But there is now a growing understanding amongst politicians across the spectrum, business leaders, and opinion formers that we have to overcome our productivity deficit. There is an acceptance that it needs to be dramatically improved at pace. We are on average 20% behind our main industrialised competitors when it comes to private sector productivity. And in our ...

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A Positive Pause

General awareness of employee ownership, particularly amongst businesses, advisors, funders and politicians has risen to unprecedented levels. Familiarity with the long termism and high productivity it delivers is also rapidly rising, buoyed by the phenomenal success of UK Employee Ownership Day 2014 last month. EO Day 2014 was the most successful single initiative ever mounted in the UK to profile the extent and benefits of employee ownership. Critically, the evidence base about employee ownership has been getting stronger throughout this year as well. The number ...

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Modernising the UK

So let us focus instead on a different and much more positive debate about the UK establishment, in this case the business and economic establishment. The business and economic establishment, and I include here the majority of financiers, professional advisors, politicians, civil servants, policy advisors and business leaders, support or at least accept a particular paradigm. The paradigm is of an economy with a disproportionately high number of businesses that are externally owned and operate with a dominant goal of driving near term external shareholder value. An ...

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