Organic box delivery business Riverford is to become employee owned by 2018, founder Guy Watson has announced.
In a statement to mark the company’s 30th anniversary this year, Watson revealed he has had “dozens of multi-million pound offers” for the business, but confirmed he will never sell.
“Selling to venture capitalists would mean turning Riverford into an enterprise driven purely by the bottom line; that’s not what we’re about,” he said.
“I started the business to produce something useful to the world, so to protect our model of sustainable large scale food production, the staff will soon own the majority instead.”
The new employee ownership structure at Riverford is expected to be complete by Spring 2018, the company confirmed.
“It’s an exciting time and a big change. Employee ownership will not guarantee enlightened management, devolved decision making and more innovation but we are hoping, with thought, coaching, nudging and the normal navel gazing, it will be the catalyst for an accelerated transition in that direction,” Watson added.
The news follows a similar move by produce giant Fresca Group, with chairman Chris Mack announcing the company will ultimately become employee owned earlier this year.