Napper Architects transfers ownership to employees

Newcastle-based Napper Architects has transferred its ownership to the people who helped build the business.

The five original owners of the architects’ practice has established a new Employee Ownership Trust, sharing the ownership of the company with its 16 employees.

Napper Architects, which was formed 75 years ago and also has an office in London, will continue to be led by the existing management team but will now ensure greater input from its employees.

As the new owners of Napper Architects, the trust forms part of the employees’ long-term strategy to ensure continued growth and evolution in the years ahead.

James Gilbert and Josh Treverton have been elected as trustees to represent and engage with all members of staff in a bid to generate new ideas for the future of the award-winning practice.

The formulation of the Employee Ownership Trust comes after a two-year period considering various options, before the collective decision was taken to put the business in the hands of those who helped build it.

Graeme Dodd, who continues as Managing Director, said: “This is a natural evolution for Napper Architects as our success and growth has always been a product of our exceptional staff.

“The new trust will provide a key vehicle for fully engaging with all employees and allowing their innovation to contribute to our continued success.”

James Gilbert, Director and trustee, said: “Our company has been in existence for 75 years and we have long had the benefit of a dedicated and loyal workforce. The new trust will reward all those who work for Napper Architects and ensure the business continues to operate for many years to come.

“We have always put people at the heart of everything that we do and have always believed in nurturing and developing our staff. This is why we have such a talented, skilled and professional workforce.

“We anticipate that greater employee engagement will naturally promote commitment and loyalty, ultimately benefitting the work that we carry out for our valuable and varied client base.”

Advisors in the establishment of the Employee Ownership Trust included leading regional law firm for businesses Muckle LLP and independent accountants MHA Tait Walker.

Amy Wanless, Senior Associate at Muckle LLP and head of the corporate services team, led on the legal aspects of the transfer together with Senior Associate Julie Garbutt who provided key advice on the trust arrangements and the role of the trustees.

Amy Wanless said: “We were delighted to assist Napper Architects in their transition to an Employment Ownership Trust, and we wish the business and all its employees every success for the future.

“Our corporate services offering is specially designed to help businesses of all sizes to create, grow and realise value and reach their true potential.”

Clair Williams, Senior Employment Tax Manager at MHA Tait Walker said: “The EOT structure is a perfect cultural fit for Napper allowing the employees to directly benefit from their contribution to the future of the business.

“At MHA Tait Walker we always tailor our services to client need, ensuring business structure changes support strategic and commercial goals. We were delighted to be able to support Napper through this process.”