OBE honour recognises growth of employee ownership and social enterprises

Deb Oxley Chief Executive of the Employee Ownership Association (EOA) has been awarded an OBE in the 2019 New Year’s honours list for services to employee ownership and social enterprise.

As Chief Executive of the EOA since 2015, Deb leads engagement and campaigning to influence government and policy makers and to raise awareness of the relevance and importance of employee ownership to the UK economy.

In her role leading the EOA, the UK’s membership body for the employee owned sector, she has shaped the organisation’s business engagement and membership proposition through national events, regional networks and campaigns to raise awareness and celebrate a sector, which is growing by more than 10% a year for the past 5 years.

As a member of the Government’s Mutual Advisory Group, a Commissioner on the Vibrant Economy and a member of the Managing Partner’s Forum, Deb also uses her position to ensure that the opportunity of employee owned businesses in the wider economy is both appreciated and supported.

In 2017 Deb led the UK’s largest independent national inquiry into employee ownership which involved a panel of over 20 UK business organisations. This included the LEP Network, Federation of Small Business, British Chambers of Commerce and Institute of Directors and gathered evidence from more than 100 employee owned businesses and those who advise them.  The findings and recommendations of the inquiry launched in the Ownership Dividend report in front of a high profile audience in June this year. The report is now supporting further engagement across the economy and with the main political parties, which Deb is personally leading.

Deb Oxley, Chief Executive of the EOA, said: “I am in shock but delighted to receive this honour, which recognises the successful collaborative approach of the EOA team, Board and members in our work to mainstream employee ownership.

“I also feel it recognises the increased importance and relevance of employee ownership at a regional economic level, especially for SME and family owned businesses, and am hopeful it will help the EOA to enter into even more courageous conversations with politicians and business leaders about how to deliver better business in the UK.”

Examples of employee owned business in the Yorkshire region include City Health Care Partnership, CarePlus Group, Lush, John Lewis Partnership – John Lewis and Partners and Waitrose and Partners, Lindum Group, Gripple and Union Industries.

Simon Fowler, who chairs the EOA and is Director of Communications for John Lewis Partnership, said: “I am thrilled to hear the news of Deb’s well-deserved honour.

“Deb has led the EOA, which represents employee owned organisations across the UK, increasing the association’s influence throughout the UK with politicians and business leaders and will continue to do so to meet an ambitious new target to achieve 3 million UK employee owners by 2030, which will benefit UK productivity, regional resilience and support more engaged and rewarded employees.”