Hatmill becomes employee-owned

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Becoming employee-owned maintains and builds on our unique culture

April 2021 – The founder of Hatmill, Simon Dixon, is transferring 100% of shares to an Employee-owned Trust (EOT) for the benefit of employees.

A £6m turnover business, Hatmill was established in 2009 and now has a team of over 35 working with clients such as ASDA, Greggs, NHS Supply Chain and Boots. As one of the UK’s largest independent supply chain advisers, Hatmill helps clients improve their warehousing, transport, forecasting and inventory, including the latest warehouse automation technology.

Sharing success – now and in the future

Under the move, employees will benefit financially from the future success of Hatmill, but also stand to share proceeds from the transfer of shares to the EOT, thanks to a long-standing Employee Management Incentive (EMI) scheme triggered by the EOT transaction.

Simon Dixon, Founder and CEO at Hatmill, said:

“Since founding Hatmill 12 years ago, the growth and success of the company are beyond my wildest dreams. It’s such a proud moment to be able to hand over Hatmill. Transferring ownership into my amazing team’s hands ensures Hatmill’s ‘TEAL’ culture and values live on, which was one of the most important factors to me in considering any next chapter for the company. It’s a key differentiator between Hatmill and our competitors; our clients value the difference it makes to them. It hugely influences our ability to attract and retain the very best talent in the industry.

I firmly believe this next chapter as an employee-owned business is just reward for the hard work and talent of our brilliant team. Becoming employee-owned is about maintaining and building on our unique culture. Creating a great place to work is fundamental to my business principles, and I’m excited about the next stage of Hatmill’s journey.”

Hatmill was advised by Phil Southern at the FD Centre and Anna Haworth and Martin Cooper at RSM.

Martin Cooper at RSM said:

“Hatmill is a business exceptionally well-suited for employee ownership, being an organisation with a strong culture, firmly established values and an emphasis on the quality of its people. It has been a privilege to work with Simon and the team in assisting them with this transition, and I am confident that Hatmill has a bright future as an employee-owned business.”

Sustained and rapid growth

The firm celebrated a record-breaking 2020 and have grown at a compound annual growth rate of over 45%. In addition to working with blue-chip brands, Hatmill has also recently won a raft of new contracts with retailers, distributors, logistics providers and the public sector.

Hatmill’s unique operating model and culture won’t change

While the ownership structure of Hatmill changes, nothing else does; Simon Dixon will remain as CEO, and Hatmill will continue to work as a ‘Teal’ organisation with its non-hierarchical operating model. The team will still have the same influence over their work, which has boosted staff retention, morale and wellbeing – over the last 3 years labour turnover is 0%. By having no management layers, Hatmill’s consulting team have the freedom to address problems themselves, rather than passing challenges up the chain of command – something that’s proven to deliver excellent outcomes for clients. This means no individual job titles but instead a set of clear values that guide the team in their decisions and behaviours, enabling the team to check themselves and each other.


Operating Board

As part of the governance structure, a newly established Operating Board (OB) will support the team to run the business and respond to the external environment. The OB comprises two external non-executive directors: Stephen Bradley, a long-standing Hatmill Associate and former head of PwC’s supply chain practice, and Ade Lingard, a business leader and coach with PLC Board level experience. They will be joined by Simon Dixon and two other elected Hatmill employees, John Hayward and Terry Murphy, on a two-year rotation as Employee Directors.

Trustee Board

The Trustee Board protects the beneficiaries’ long-term interest and maintains the spirit and ethos of the EOT. The Trustee board members include non-executive director Phil Southern, Simon Dixon and Hatmill employee Gareth Powell, elected by his colleagues to be Employee Director and their representative on a two-year tenure ship.

Employee-ownership grows

Hatmill joins many well-known firms such as John Lewis, Richer Sounds, and ‘Tiptree’ preserve maker Wilkin & Sons in becoming employee-owned. The Employee Ownership Association (EOA) says more than 470 businesses have now adopted the model, with at least 50 more preparing to follow suit. Recent converts include Riverford, the organic vegetable box company  and  Aardman, the Bristol-based animation studio behind  Wallace & Gromit.

Deb Oxley Chief Executive of the EOA said: “We congratulate Hatmill and its new employee-owners – their move to employee ownership will sustain the values and independence of the business for the longer term.

“Businesses that give employees a stake and a say build trust and shared responsibility, therefore uniting leaders and employees behind a common purpose. This leaves the business in the best position to flex and adapt to recover from challenges and to deliver on new opportunities.”

Hatmill is a business exceptionally well-suited for employee ownership, being an organisation with a strong culture, firmly established values and an emphasis on the quality of its people. It has been a privilege to work with Simon and the team in assisting them with this transition, and I am confident that Hatmill has a bright future as an employee-owned business.” 

Martin Cooper, RSM

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