Business, Feature, Forwarding, Freight News, Logistics

Espace becomes employee-owned company

[ October 3, 2017   //   ]

Espace Europe says it has become the first UK freight forwarding firm to become an employee-owned company.

The Lichfield-based company transferred ownership of its business to its employees on 29 September, with all current employees qualifying as beneficiaries of an employee ownership trust and its annual distributable profits.

Espace managing director, Tony Shally, said: “Employee ownership just seemed the right thing to do at this stage of Espace’s development. Establishing a Trust which distributes fairly the profits of the business to the people that make the business successful shows our employees how much we value them and clearly differentiates us from our competitors. When people now speak to any member of the Espace team, they are now speaking to an part owner of the business, not just an employee.”

Tony Shally will remain as MD for about six years, while a senior management team of four will be mentored to run the business on his departure.

John Lewis arguably lead the field in employee ownership in the UK with its 90,000 strong workforce all part owners of the business, although in the transport sector the then National Freight Consortium – later rebranded Exel Logistics – was sold to its workforce in 1982 as part of the round of privatisation of state-owned industries by the Thatcher government.

Espace has joined the employee ownership association (EOA) in May. The latter’s chief executive, Deb Oxley, said: “We congratulate Espace Europe on its transition to employee ownership. The move to employee ownership will secure the future of the business, its employees and its contribution in the local economy, while retaining the brand, ethos, values it holds dear, for many years to come.”