Auchrannie Resort on the Isle of Arran is believed to be the first hotel business in Scotland to come under the ownership of its employees.
Established by Iain and Linda Johnston in 1988, the company – comprising two hotels with a total of 85 bedrooms, 30 self-catering lodges, two leisure clubs, three restaurants and a spa – has established an Employee Ownership Trust which holds 100% of the shares on behalf of the 160 staff.
The change to employee ownership means that Auchrannie, which enjoyed a turnover of £7.2m in 2017, will remain as an independent, locally run company.
Linda Johnston as managing director and the rest of the management team will remain in place. Ian Johnston died in 2015.
Linda Johnston said: “We first started looking at employee ownership in 2015. Many exit options were considered over the years but none protected the ethos of the company, the existing team or the community use of Auchrannie’s facilities for future generations like employee ownership did.”
She explained that the staff had been involved in creating the ownership trust and were excited about the future. “They are delighted that Auchrannie’s legacy will be protected and that they have the chance to play an active part in, and benefit from, Auchrannie’s future success. They have already become more engaged in making the business better and understand the power and influence each and every one of them now has on their own future.”
Auchrannie’s transition to employee ownership was supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS).
Sarah Deas, director at CDS, the arm of Scotland’s enterprise agencies which promotes employee ownership, said: “Being on an island, a change to the ownership of a resort like Auchrannie could seriously affect the economy of the whole island. The change to employee ownership means that the team at Auchrannie and the community of Arran can relax knowing that it will always remain an independent, locally run organisation with community values at heart.”
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