Railway contractor Buckingham Group Contracting is now owned by is employees, after the owner-directors transferred all of their equity into the Buckingham Group Employee Ownership Trust.
The move coincides with founders Paul and Patricia Wheeler, and long-standing group director and partner Kevin Underwood, all retiring from the board.
Fellow partners Mike Kempley (CEO) and Tim Brown (COO) have moved into the roles of chairman and deputy chairman respectively. The new executive, all of whom were already directors of the business, are Ian McSeveney (group managing director), Simon Walkley, deputy group MD), Andrew Kerr (group financial director and Richard Plant (group commercial director).
The employees’ shares will be held by BGC Trustee Ltd, which will always retain at least 60% of the group’s shares. In addition, to mark the move, 530 employees have received a £1,000 tax-free bonus.
Announcing the move, founder Paul Wheeler said: “Back in 1987, when the Company was first incorporated, I never dreamt that the business, which was originally known as ‘Buckingham Plant Hire Contracting Limited’ would ever accomplish such remarkable achievements.
“With growing annual sales revenues nudging £700 million for 2021, the business has attained the status of being a large corporate, widely recognised for delivering top quality projects and has become consistently established within the ‘Top Twenty’ private Construction Contractors in the UK.
“None of this would have been possible without the commitment, skills and dedication of our staff members, our management teams and everyone working in departments across the whole business.
“In recognizing the amazing results that are now being achieved more than 30-years later, it is wholly appropriate that ownership of the business is being handed down from its founding partners to an all-embracing model of common ownership under the newly established Employee Ownership Trust.’’
New CEO Mike Kempley remarked: “’From the moment that we were first briefed on the Employee-Ownership model, it was very clear that the legislation and the thinking behind it has businesses exactly like ours in mind.
“Buckingham Group is perfectly suited to employee ownership, which will enable the culture and ethos of the business to continue as the founders pass on the baton to our strong established board. In addition, all our stakeholders’ interests are aligned, and everyone benefits from the overall, long-term success of the business.’
‘’This is a very exciting stage in the company’s evolution. The business is in robust financial health, is highly regarded and has record levels of secured workload ahead of it.
“We, of course, still have plenty to learn and develop over the coming years, but with our highly engaged employees who we believe are some of the very best people in the industry, we have no doubt at all that Buckingham will continue to be successful, to the collective benefit of all our people, and our wider stakeholders.’’
Buckingham Group Contracting has its head office near Silverstone and regional offices in London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Doncaster. First established over 65 years ago, it is now a major multi-disciplinary contractor with a turnover of around £700 million. Its portfolio of work ranges from major highways and sports stadia projects to the building and refurbishing of railway stations and depots.