New EO think tank Chief Exec targets national recovery and social impact

Ownership at Work – the employee ownership (EO) sector’s new think tank – has appointed an interim Chief Executive who wants to prove beyond doubt the significant social and economic benefits EO businesses can drive in post-pandemic recovery.

Campbell McDonald has taken on a six-month interim role as the organisation’s first Chief Executive with a mission to help advance the EO sector’s research base and strengthen the case behind increasing levels of EO in the UK economy.

Campbell said: “When you work in the employee owned sector it’s all too easy to assume the benefits are plain to see but our approach is still a mystery to many. Whilst numbers of employee owned businesses are growing at record levels, as our popularity grows so does the burden of proof.

“Now more than ever we must be able to showcase the remarkable economic and social benefits employee ownership can bring, for individuals, businesses, the economy and our wider society.”

Early areas of focus for Campbell will be ensuring that every business owner should consider EO as part of their recovery plan and developing an approach to measure the social impact of EO firms.

Campbell has been a Trustee of OAW since its launch in 2019. Following a formal recruitment process, Campbell has stood down as a Trustee to take up this role and lay strong foundations for a sustainable organisation.

Campbell has worked in the EO sector for over 12 years, initially as an advisor to the John Lewis Partnership before co-founding and running EO specialist consultancy Baxendale Advisory from 2012-18. Previously Campbell worked as a journalist and at the Cabinet Office for five years.

Ownership at Work is an independent, charitable think tank and research partner to the sector’s national trade body the Employee Ownership Association. Papers published to date can be found here.

The think tank’s Advisory Board includes Sir Charlie Mayfield, former John Lewis Partnership chairman; Will Hutton, leading economic commentator and former Principal of Hertford College, Oxford; and Sacha Romanovitch, CEO of Fair4AllFinance and co-chair of the Inclusive Economy Partnership.

Companies where employees own the business are the UK’s fastest growing business model, and account for a combined annual turnover of around £30 billion, a bigger share of UK GDP than aerospace or agriculture.

If you have any questions, or want to pursue any research discussions with Ownership at Work, please contact Campbell at