Place North West becomes employee-owned
Place North West has joined the wave of forward-thinking, fast-growing businesses moving to employee ownership.
The 14-strong team has acquired the business from founder Paul Unger, who exits as a shareholder while remaining as a full-time director of the business. Dino Moutsopoulos and Kirsty Butcher will remain as directors – becoming joint managing partners – and retaining separate stakes in the business alongside the majority-controlling employee ownership trust.
Unger said: “Place has been my baby since I began publishing more than 15 years ago, and it’s wonderful to be able to protect it with an employee ownership trust. The team is such a strong one now that the discussion around EO became more attractive as a succession option as time went on.
“With the help of Stuart Stead and his team at Cowgills, and Andrew Harrison at Co-ownership Solutions, we were able to navigate through the process painlessly and start this new chapter with a bright future for all of us.”
Place North West Limited incorporates the trading brands of Place North, Place North East, Place Yorkshire, and, of course, Place North West. The business is profitable and turn overs more than £1m a year. Place serves the built environment audience with a mix of news and analysis, marketing, and events.
Kirsty Butcher, managing partner and head of product, said: “Given our brand values of fairness, transparency, and quality, employee ownership feels like a very ‘Place’ route to take and a natural progression that puts us in great stead for the future.”
In each of the group’s titles, Place covers every stage of the lifecycle of assets and locations, from land assembly and investment through planning and design, construction, to sales and lettings. Our mission is to provide free-to-read, accurate, and timely news. Together, our publications give readers the lifeline they need to be ready for their next meeting.
Butcher continued: “Paul has done a remarkable job of founding and building Place from the ground up, and setting the culture that enables staff to make an impact from day one and to grow through the business. I’m an example of this myself, having moved from assistant level to managing partner in the space of eight years. I’m pleased that staff are now further empowered to drive forward the business.
“I’m looking forward to representing the senior leadership team on the employee ownership trust board, and to seeing the team and the company benefit from this model and approach.”
Dino Moutsopoulos, managing partner and head of commercial, added: “Employee ownership for Place North West seemed the best fit. When planning the future of the business you always should be thinking about how that business will improve and, in my opinion, it’s always through the people. Over the past few years, we have assembled the best team we have ever had, individuals with the skills and drive to take the business to the next level.
“After nearly eight years with the business, I am very proud to have helped increase commercial activities and the overall growth and quality of the business offerings.
“Taking on the coming years as a managing partner is something I look forward to; developing our new titles and creating new and exciting products.”
The team at Place North West is David Booth, Kirsty Butcher, Daniel Coetsee, Fiona Davies, Laura Davies, Louise Hall, Julia Hatmaker, Annaliese Hesketh, Lucy Hinds, Dino Moutsopoulos, Sophie Rennie, Neil Tague, Paul Unger, and Dan Whelan.
Employee ownership is a government business initiative launched in 2014 that offers founders a tax-efficient way of selling while protecting the culture of the business. Employees benefit from tax-free annual bonuses if the business continues to be successful and gain more control through the trust board, acting as a check and balance overseeing senior management.
EOTs have steadily increased in popularity since launching and numerous property companies have joined their ranks recently including Planit-IE, DB3, Futureserv, Crookes Walker, Shedkm, Day Architectural, B8 Real Estate.
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