The Employee Ownership (EO) Sector Group

The group meets quarterly bringing together a wide range of expertise from across the EO sector and seeks to influence awareness and support for Employee Ownership in the UK. The Group is chaired by Chief Executive of the EOA Deb Oxley.

Rhian Edwards, Project Manager, Social Business Wales, Wales Co-operative Centre 
Rhian has worked in the social enterprise and co-operative sector for the last 13 years.  In 2012, Rhian launched and managed a project at the Wales Co-operative Centre aimed specifically at developing the employee ownership sector in Wales. Rhian has worked directly on employee buy-out deals and has been instrumental in developing stakeholder support for the model in Wales. Rhian continues to manage this area of work in the new EU and Welsh. Government funded project, Social Business Wales, which delivers specialist employee ownership support to SMEs in Wales.



Richard Marr, Chief Operating Officer of the eaga Trust

Richard’s background is in finance with experience as a Chartered accountant, before moving into audit and then Corporate Finance team at PwC where had insight and experience of employee ownership models whilst working with businesses that were sold to Employee Benefit Trusts to perpetuate the employee ownership model.  Richard joined the eaga Trust in November 2014 and now works to support the meaningful and sustainable employment of the eaga Trust beneficiaries, the promotion, (including through Trust initiatives and programmes), of a fair and fulfilling working environment where employees feel a part of their organisation, in so far as they can exert an influence over its direction and prosperity; and the promotion of businesses where the employees (including eaga Trust beneficiaries) have some ownership of their business (either directly or indirectly through a trust).





Clayton Hirst, Group Head of Corporate Affairs, John Lewis Partnership

Clayton leads government and external relations for the John Lewis Partnership, the UK’s largest employee owned business which comprises John Lewis and Waitrose.

Sarah Deas , Director – Scottish Enterprise & Co-operative Development Scotland

Sarah’s professional background is in strategy, marketing and business development within international companies. She heads up Co-operative Development Scotland, which is the arm of Scottish Enterprise working in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise that supports company growth through employee ownership business models.


Graeme Nuttall OBE, Partner, Fieldfisher

Graeme is a solicitor and chartered tax adviser and leads the Fieldfisher Employee and Mutual Ownership Team. He received an OBE in the Queen’s 2014 Birthday Honours for services to employee share plans, public service mutuals and employee ownership. He belonged to the HM Treasury Advisory Group that developed the UK’s tax advantaged share incentive plan and enterprise management incentives arrangement.

As the Government’s independent adviser on employee ownership, he wrote “The Nuttall Review of Employee Ownership”.
The new tax framework for employee-ownership trusts is as a result of the findings of the Nuttall Review.
Graeme is also a Cabinet Office Mutuals Ambassador and Chairman of a number of employee trust boards.




John Eckersley, CEO, Capital for Colleagues

John leads the investment entity, Capital for Colleagues, which provides finance to businesses looking to transition to employee ownership, or to those which are already co-owned but in need of development capital. John has more than 25 years investment experience and co-founded employee owned business Castlefield Investment Partners LLP, of which he is Managing Partner, in 2002.


Patrick Burns, Employee Ownership Insight

Patrick is former consultant on mutualising public services for employee owned Prospects and is a former chief executive of EOA and now non-exec director. He is a board member of Eaga Trust, an employee ownership investor, and chairs the shareholder council of employee owned Care & Share Associates.