Curtins hands over ownership to its staff in monumental transition

curtins author
Curtins on 15th Jul 2021


After 61 years of independence, we made the monumental transition to become an Employee-Owned Trust, giving our people an increased ability to influence business decision making and share in the company’s financial successes.

We were established in Liverpool in 1960 in the back bedroom of founder and lecturer at the Liverpool College of Building, Bill Curtin.

“What we’re doing is so aligned with Bills’ philosophy and principal of making sure our people are at the heart of our company,” states Chief Executive, Rob Melling.

Through the new structure, everyone employed by Curtins will have a share in the company’s financial performance and enjoy the benefits from their efforts.

Our former share ownership scheme where staff owned approximately 25% of the business, was first introduced in 2002, shortly after Rob Melling joined the Board of Directors.

Curtins hands over ownership to its staff in monumental transition

By implementing the transition now, at a time of bright prospects for Curtins, we believe that the stars have aligned to achieve key benefits for our people.

That ownership scheme allowed people from outside the Board to also own shares in the business based on certain eligibility criteria, or to be gifted them as a reward for long service. This resulted in us being listed in the Top 50 Employee-Owned Companies for a number of years prior to this transition.

On the timing of this step, Rob Melling comments, “By implementing the transition now, at a time of bright prospects for Curtins, we believe that the stars have aligned to achieve key benefits for our people.”

Curtins employs over 350 staff across our 14 offices in the UK and Ireland. We have maintained our independence since we were founded, which we believe is a strong and compelling reason for why our clients choose us.

“Whilst our staff have always been focussed on delivering what our clients need from us, we believe that being part of the EOT will give our staff an even greater desire to achieve our company objectives, and serving clients is at the very heart of that,” adds Melling.

In order to achieve the transition, members of our Board and other staff shareholders have transferred their shares to the EOT, confident that this is a positive step for the business and the people employed by it.

“We genuinely believe that this is best for the business and our people. For those that don’t get it, my response is just wait and see,” remarks Melling.

Under the new structure, staff will be able to influence business decisions through our employee forum comprising of 28 representatives from across all of our offices.

Ultimately the Board of Directors will still have responsibility for running the business and will be accountable to a Trustee Board, which will include two elected members of the employee forum. The Employee Trustee Directors are Helene John, Office Manager in our Cardiff office, and Stephen Beggs, Director in Bristol.

Melling adds, “As an Employee-Owned Trust, I believe that the company and the individuals who work within it will flourish in a truly collaborative structure.”

To mark and celebrate the transition, Curtins commissioned an artwork by a Liverpool-based artist, Olga Snell through local art organisation dot-art. The kaleidoscopic digital collage will be displayed in the reception area of our head office in Liverpool.

Olga commented about the commission, “When I’m working on collages like this with lots of elements about the subject I like to call them Totems – so this is the Curtins’ Totem, a collage ‘structure’ as a metaphor for the company, the work they do, their inspirational story and ethos.”

The transition to an Employee-Owned Trust was officially signed and declared on 14th July 2021, paving the way for an exciting and more collaborative future for our business and our employees.

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