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Wave Refrigeration moves to employee ownership

Wave founder James Bailey (left) has moved the business to an employee ownership trust with Mark Williams (right) as MD

UK: Wave Refrigeration has become one of less than 500 UK companies to form an employee ownership trust (EOT) and transition to an employee owned business model.

An EOT is a form of employee benefit trust introduced by the UK government in 2014 in an attempt to encourage more shareholders to set up a corporate structure similar to the John Lewis model.

More formally known as Wheatland’s Aire Valley Engineering, Wave was established in 2015, to provide independent and impartial design and project support consultancy services. Its head office is in Cross Hills, near Keighley, Yorkshire.

The basis of an EOT is a method of share ownership whereby employees hold a controlling stake in the company for whom they work, via a trust. Wave says that unlike many employee-owned businesses where employees have to buy into a scheme across a small number of allocated and often lower value shares, the WAVE EOT will benefit all employees without having to purchase shares.

As part of the transition, project and commercial director Mark Williams, who joined the company in 2017, becomes managing director. Founder James Bailey will lead the businesses operations, customer relationships, strategic development, and growth, along with nurturing and developing the up-and-coming talent at WAVE. In a further move, technical consultant Sam Cameron becomes engineering manager. 

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