Richer Sounds founder to hand over majority share to employees

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Richer Sounds, Liverpool

Founder of Richer Sounds Julian Richer has today announced he will hand over control of the business to staff, Getintothis’ Lauren Wise reports

The owner of British home entertainment retailer Richer Sounds has announced today that he will be handing control of the business over to his employees..

Julian Richer, founder and MD of Richer Sounds, will transfer 60% of his shares into an employee trust.

Richer, who has overseen the company for the last 40 years, explained how when the time comes he has always thought he would hand over the business to his faithful staff.

He said: “I have always planned to leave my company in trust on my death for the benefit of the colleagues in the business. Having hit the ripe old age of 60 I March, I felt the time was right, rather than leaving it until I’m not around, to ensure that the transition goes smoothly and I can be part of it.”

The move will see the company become one of the biggest to enter into an employee ownership.

It’s been widely reported that each of the 522 employees will receive £1000 for each year at the firm, with an average payout of £8000, although a number have worked for the hi-fi and TV retailer for more than 20 years including one who’s clocked up 40 years service.

For those worried that the shift in shares will result in a different shopping experience in one of the business’ 53 shops across the UK, you can rest easy.

Richer explained how the change is expected to be a ‘seamless’ one, with the 60-year-old founder planning to stay involved – although he will leave the day-to-day running up to its existing management board along with a colleagues’ advisory council and trustees.

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The Richer Sounds Trust – as the employee ownership trust will be known – will adhere to a set of principles aimed at ensuring the trust operates in a ‘responsible manner’.

The entrepreneurial founder was cited in The Financial Times in 2013 as having written into his will the plan to hand shares over to employees in the event of his death.

David Robinson, chairman of Richer Sounds, said: “It’s incredibly exciting times and allows our colleagues to feel even more connected to the company. They have a real stake in the success of the business and can take pride in knowing that they are shareholders, building for the future.”

The colleagues’ advisory council will give employees to share their views, with staff now likely to be able to have a say in operational matters in the business.

Deb Oxley OBE, chief executive of the Employee Ownership Association, said: “We congratulate Richer Sounds on its transition to employee ownership: another great brand bringing employee ownership to the high street.

We’re delighted to see it secure its future independence with a focus on its people and an eye on the future world – a world with a more inclusive economy and where more businesses are doing well while doing good.”

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