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09 Nov, 2022 All

Employee Ownership Trusts: the good, the bad and the indifferent

What does it mean to be an employee-owned business?

With succession and a desire from employees for a more equal approach to working practices being hot topics in recent months, the conversation around employee-owned businesses has gained much traction in the architecture community.

But how does it work? What are the benefits of the structure? Does it have any pitfalls? Where do you need to be as a business to truly embrace it? How do you get ready for this change?

Join The Building Society and Always Thinking as we help both our members and the wider built environment community to explore all things Employee Ownership Trusts with guidance from legal practice Lewis Silkin and a number of experts and people who have already been on this journey.

đź“…: Tuesday 22nd November 5-7pm

Where: The Building Society, 55 Whitfield Street London W1T 4HE

Register your free place:

Our panel will explore different aspects of Employee Ownership and the impact it has on the business and the people within it, addressing frequently asked questions, including:

  • How does this inspire the next generation and reinforce the culture of the organisation?
  • What impact does this have on brand and client perception?
  • What is the legal process and implications when transferring to an EOT?
  • Where do you need to be as a business and how do we make this work?


Matthew Rowbotham, Partner, Lewis Silkin LLP
Matthew leads Lewis Silkin’s Tax, Reward and Incentives legal practice group.
Matthew is a tax and incentives specialist who advises clients on all kinds of transactions, incentive arrangements and ownership structures, including different forms of employee ownership. He has helped a number of clients establish employee ownership trusts since they were introduced in 2014, including the Folio Society in 2021. Matthew is a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation.

Joanna Reynolds, CEO, The Folio Society
Joanna has a wealth of management experience, having occupied senior roles at a variety of media and publishing businesses (including Reader’s Digest and Time Warner) as well as co-founding ReynoldsBusbyLee, a consultancy specialising in business turnaround, customer experience, digital marketing and mentoring. She has spent the last eight years as CEO of the Folio Society, a publisher which produces special editions of classic fiction and non-fiction books, poetry and children’s titles. In 2021 she helped the Folio Society navigate its conversion to a 100% EOT-owned business.

Jude Harris, Director, Jestico + Whiles
Jude, a Director at the London based architecture and interior design practice, was heavily involved in the transition of the founding Directors to the current Leadership Team and the part that the 2004 EBT Trust Deed played in facilitating that smooth succession. More recently he has overseen the translation of the original Employee Benefit Trust into deemed EOT status and compliance with HMRC legislation for employee-owned businesses.
Jude leads the practice’s housing studio, currently overseeing a 1,700-home masterplan in Canning Town for the London Borough of Newham. He is also Project Director on the Cavendish Laboratory for the University of Cambridge and Lead Consultant for the multi-disciplinary design team for the Dairy Nexus Innovation Centre in Dumfriesshire for SRUC. He has researched energy use, environmental design and building facades and is a co-author of a book Intelligent Skins.

Neil Hughes, Joint Managing Partner and Commercial Director, Hayes Davidson
Neil leads the delivery of the Hayes Davidson’s vision and strategy with a key focus on finance, operations and new business opportunities. He is passionate about employee ownership and champions the studio’s collaborative culture and the bringing to life of the studio’s guiding principles.
An active participant and panellist in employee ownership circles, Neil promotes good EO practice and governance and is a long serving member of the Employee Ownership Association (EOA) membership council.
In 2022, Hayes Davidson won the EOA EO Stories Outstanding Culture Award. Neil was Highly Commended for the EOA Employee Owner of the Year Award in 2019.