Wholesaler to become employee owned in new year

S&W Wholesale has announced that in January it will become one of the largest known businesses in Northern Ireland to move to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) model of ownership

The wholesale business, which started 106 years ago and employs more than 320 people, will see the Trust manage and control shares indirectly on behalf of employees. The new structure will see no visible change in the business and day-to-day control will remain led by the current leadership team.

“We have been working on a succession plan for some time to secure the future of the business, while allowing for growth,” said Norman Savage, S&W Director. “We didn’t want to become another name swallowed up by the bigger players or potentially bought and closed by an investor. We have a loyalty to our people, customers, and supply partners. We also have ambitious growth plans, with a new purpose-built site currently in the planning system. We want this ambition to carry through the next generation of the business.”

Michael Skelton, CEO S&W, said: “This is a very bold and exciting move for us as pioneers of EOT at this scale in Northern Ireland. We know there will be learnings over time but the most important thing for us is that our team are going home this Christmas knowing that not only have they job security, and certainty for the long term, but they are working for an organisation that genuinely wants them to benefit from the business.”

Michael Skelton Norman Savage S&W Wholesale staff