London cost consultant Core Five has become an Employee Ownership Trust 11 years after the firm was set up.
The business, which employs 170 people out of two offices in London and Birmingham, said it has signed an agreement which will see an initial 24 partners offered a stake in the business.
The move will also see five partners – Andrew Hyman, Bernard Duffy, David Gabe, Jon Spencer-Hall and Matt Viall – promoted to the management and EOT board of trustees.
Founding partner James Clark, who set up Core Five in May 2012 with four others, Chris Amesbury, Gerard Cook, Barry Hayden and the now retired Steve Pickersgill, said the remaining four founders won’t own shares in the new EOT.
Under the rules, the EOT must own a minimum 51% with around half of the remaining 49% set to be split between the 24 partners.
Clark said: “The other half will be left for the partners and leaders of the future. The EOT will retain ownership of these shares until the next generation are ready to be offered them. We are therefore creating opportunity for the whole firm rather than just the current partner group.”
He added: “We’re trying to broaden the ownership and leadership as the firm gets bigger. We’ve never been interested in selling the business and this is the first step in a 10 year leadership plan. We need the [future] leadership to be assured and broadened out and when that is safe, that is the time when we can begin to talk about hanging up our boots.”
Clark said the firm had been discussing a succession plan for the past five years and added: “The EOT allows us to broaden the ownership and ensure we pass the business on. We’ve tried very hard to keep a family feel to the business to deliver what we call ‘large firm capability, boutique firm delivery’.”
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Core Five’s current jobs include 50 Fenchurch Street, the Eric Parry-designed tower being developed by Yard Nine, the expansion of Aston Villa’s Villa Park ground and the Gateshead Quays development for a team including Ask.
It also worked on British Land’s 100 Liverpool Street scheme, built by Sir Robert McAlpine, and is currently working on 2 Finsbury Avenue with McAlpine also set to carry out this job, designed by Danish practice 3XN, although no deal has yet been formally signed.
Core Five was one of several firms to emerge out of Davis Langdon and that firm’s takeover by Aecom in 2010. Others include Exigere and Alinea, bought earlier this year by T&T.