Winch Design Announces it is Now Fully Employee Owned

Winch Design Announces it is Now Fully Employee Owned 3

Winch Design, the pioneering design studio known for its work in the fields of yachting, aviation and architecture, has today announced it is now fully employee-owned.

Winch has always been a pioneering business and has evolved into an international design studio in the yachting, aviation and architecture industries. Employee Ownership sits beautifully with the Winch ethos as a Company that has always placed the highest value on its people, whose loyalty, talent and commitment have played a vital part in the business’s success.

It, therefore, seems a fitting and natural progression in the history of Winch that the Senior Leadership Team and the entire cohort continue to build on the wonderful legacy created by Andrew and Jane thirty-five years ago.

It takes a clear vision, a strong culture and a progressive approach to grow to the size and stature of Winch. Everyone involved is immensely proud to be a part of it and excited about what the future holds. Andrew’s vision cannot be underestimated in both successfully laying the foundations of a business that is stronger today than at any point in its history and also knowing that the time is right to further harness the talent, drive and determination of the current team in order for them to grow, nurture and develop Winch Design over the next thirty-five years.

It is a natural progression rather than a change to the current and future modus operandi at Winch. Over the last six years, the leadership of Winch has been bolstered with Clive Beharrell as Chairman, Aino Grapin as CEO and long-standing studio heads, Simon Tomlinson and Jim Dixon, made Directors in 2019.

Winch Design and Heesen M/Y SpartaWinch Design and Heesen M/Y Sparta.

With Andrew’s unwavering support and guidance, this team has taken Winch to the next level and has quietly been working hard to empower and develop the next generation beneath them. Under this leadership, the business has flourished, growing in size, stability and capability, whilst organically transitioning from a ‘yacht designer’ to a global design studio across land, sea and air.

A Boutique Hotel in the Seychelles, one of Winch Design's commercial projects.A Boutique Hotel in Seychelles, one of Winch Design’s commercial projects.

Employee Ownership will undoubtedly positively impact the many clients and partners of Winch who will benefit from the ‘owner mindset’ which will permeate the business. The amalgamation of the heritage and unparalleled experience that Andrew has given and will continue to give to his team, together with the energy and ambition of the next generation, will be a powerful combination for the future of Winch.

The Winch Employee Ownership Trust (WEOT) is now the company’s sole shareholder, thus ensuring that the company remains privately held and under the ongoing stewardship of the dedicated Winch team. As Co-Directors of the Operating Board, Aino, Jim and Simon will continue to have responsibility for the leadership of Winch Design, together with the Senior Leadership team, who run the company.

Aino-Leena Grapin (centre) with Simon Tomlinson and Jim Dixon.Aino-Leena Grapin (centre) with Simon Tomlinson and Jim Dixon.

Aino Grapin commented: “Winch Design has always been a pioneering studio which I have been honoured to drive forward for the past five years, supported by a fantastic team. Andrew has long been a visionary in the industry, and this has inspired us to develop a truly innovative studio, both in terms of the projects we design and the management style we adopt. Employee ownership will enable us to stay true to our colours, serve our clients even better and further empower our next generation of talent.”

Andrew’s role has also evolved over recent years. The day-to-day running of the company has been in the hands of the Senior Leadership Team for several years now. Andrew’s confidence in the design teams means he will now also pass creative leadership to Jim Dixon, Director of Yachts and Aviation, and Simon Tomlinson, Director of Architecture. He will focus more on his role as a creative sounding board, participating in regular design reviews with Jim and Simon.

Andrew will sit on the Board of Trustees for at least five years and also wishes to broaden his role externally, wanting to inspire young people across the industry at the start of their careers, as well as continuing to expand his patronage of British craftsmanship.

Andrew commented: “I am immensely proud of the team. Today’s announcement is another exciting milestone in our history and such a natural progression of all the great work that has been done to get us to this point. I believe every single person at Winch Design is exceptional, and it is their collaborative spirit that is the true strength of the Winch studio. I thank them and also extend huge thanks to our many clients and friends in the industry who have helped us to reach this exciting moment. The Winch DNA is unique and will only get stronger as the adventure continues. 2021 is a special year for Winch, as we celebrate our 35 years in business, but I am so excited to look forward as the next chapter in our history unfolds.”

More about employee ownership
Employee Ownership Trust (EOT): The purpose of an EOT is to provide permanent long-term employee ownership of the company through holding the company’s shares in Trust for the benefit of all the company’s employees.

Winch Employee Ownership Trust (WEOT): WEOT is the sole shareholder of the company, thus ensuring that the company remains privately held.

The WEOT will be governed by a Board of Trustee Directors, whose role is to represent Winch employees’ interests and to ensure high levels of employee engagement, which is crucial in a talent-based organisation. The Operating Board of Winch Design will continue to act as a decision-making board, overseen by the Trustee Board. Within nine months, both Clive and Andrew will relinquish their current Operating Board roles. Clive will remain as Advisor to the Board and ensure a new Chairman is bedded in. Andrew will act as Trustee Director of the newly formed WEOT Board and will remain so for at least five years, together with an independent Trustee Chair, Independent trustee, Aino as CEO and Kirsten Hill as representative from the Senior Leadership Team.

Winch Design is thrilled that the first Trustee Chair will be Patrick Lewis, former CFO of John Lewis and President of the Employee Ownership Association, and the first Independent Trustee will be Sue Lawrence, who has worked with several founders as they transition to an EOT and has extensive experience as a Non-Executive Director across various sectors.

Employee Ownership has become increasingly popular in the UK. The main driver behind the new EOTs being created each week in the UK is as a business succession solution for private company owners. There are now over 470 EOTs in the UK, and this number is growing rapidly, particularly in architecture practices where over 25% of AJ100 practices are in the hands of their employees and many smaller
practices have also transitioned.

The specific aims among those choosing employee ownership are legacy, preserving a company’s independence and ethos and achieving the right sort of stable long-term new ownership for the company.

Read more news and articles relating to yacht design here.

Winch Design Announces it is Now Fully Employee Owned 4


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