David McBride
North West head David McBride said the move gives all employees the chance to share in the firm's success. Credit: via BeKnown Comms

Hollis becomes employee-owned

Neil Tague

The multidisciplinary consultancy, which has offices in Manchester and Liverpool, has switched from a limited liability partnership.

The 450-employee firm, which advises major UK institutional landlords, along with public and private investors, occupiers and developers throughout Europe, will move straight into the top 50 of the largest employee-owned companies based in the UK.

Under the new Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) structure, Hollis is now majority-owned by Hollis Global Trust Company Ltd on behalf of its employees.

Senior partner John Woodman will continue in his current role with a new title as chairman, with existing managing partner Alex Brown changing title to managing director. All remaining partners will take up roles as directors. The business continues to trade as Hollis.

Hollis, which posted a turnover of over £40m for the year ending 30 April 2021, has more than 20 offices across the UK, Ireland, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.

The company became a limited company at the start of October to enable the change, which was finalised yesterday.

Hollis was founded by Prof. Malcolm Hollis in 1991, with Woodman joining in the same year and subsequently acquiring the business in 1994.

The business has remained independent throughout that time, growing from a team of three surveyors specialising in dilapidations and technical due diligence, to a team of almost 450 multi-disciplined experts, including surveyors, engineers, technical specialists, environmental and ESG consultants and project managers.

Woodman said: “Hollis has always prided itself on its independence and as being a business that creates opportunities and supports the progression of its team.

“Over the last few years we have had to consider the future of Hollis and its ownership, ensuring that there are plans in place for a sustainable future that will allow for continued opportunities, progression and succession as well as protect our clients.

“This move will enable everyone who has helped build and develop Hollis over a number of years to participate in the future growth and success of the business.”

Other businesses in the sector that have made the change to an EOT structure include Liverpool-headquartered consultancy Curtins, which made the switch in July and Triangle Architects. Planit-IE is in the process of becoming staff-owned, having announced its intention to do so in July 2018.

David McBride, head of the North West for Hollis, said the move gives all staff the chance to share in the firm’s success. He added: “The introduction of the EOT reiterates our commitment to all the employees in this business and the importance we place on our ‘one team’ culture.

“The benefits that employee ownership can bring to businesses are widely acknowledged, including improved employee engagement and wellbeing, and better business performance, for ourselves and for our clients.”

Hollis’ existing management structure will remain in place, with the main and junior boards continuing to drive forward the overall business plan and growth targets.

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