Tribute to employee ownership pioneer Philip Baxendale

The EOA was saddened to hear of the death of employee ownership pioneer Philip Baxendale in April.

Philip, who was one of the first founders to work with the EOA’s own founder Robert Oakeshott to transfer his business to employee ownership, was a key contributor to the sector.

In 1983, he turned down multi-million pound offers for the leading boiler company – Baxi – his grandfather founded, and which he had worked in for decades.

He instead chose to sell his business to his workers at a significant discount. Convinced of the benefits of employee ownership, he then established Baxendale’s parent company, choosing to invest his own money in the furtherance of worker ownership.

EOA member management consultancy Baxendale, which supports businesses to become employee owned, came out of this investment.
They told us that Philip’s move to employee ownership was all down to fairness and reported him as saying: “I did not believe that it would have been fair for the family to receive very large amounts of money, leaving the employees with a high risk of redundancy”.

He reasoned that meant that “larger numbers of people will lead happier, more productive, wealthier and more fulfilling lives than would otherwise be possible.”

Deb Oxley CEO of the EOA said: “We are saddened to hear of Philip’s passing – a true pioneer of employee ownership. We have lost a fair and far-seeing individual, however, his legacy of the UK Employee Ownership Awards will continue to bring the stories of employee ownership excellence to light and help grow awareness of the sector.

Ewan Hall, director of Baxendale, said: “It’s an honour realising Philip’s ambitions every day. He wanted strong companies to transfer into employee ownership and to then run as successful businesses with partnership cultures. Our whole business is about that, and it’s a delight to make it happen. We will always remember Philip with great fondness; visionary seems too small a word somehow.”