Successful succession: Novograf

The Challenge
Novograf is a brand realization business that delivers branded environments to the retail, commercial and transport industries. Their work can be seen all over the UK: when you shop at a convenience chain, pick up a sausage roll from a high street bakery, walk into a major bank, buy your groceries from a supermarket, relax in a café, stay with a major hotel chain…or even just catch a train…there’s a good chance you’ll be surrounded by the things Novograf does well.

Established in 1986, the business has grown to over 70 employees, the majority of whom are based in East Kilbride, just outside Glasgow. The business was going from strength to strength, with record years for financial performance.
However, the owners and certain key directors were all approaching retirement. They needed a succession solution that would enable the business to continue to succeed while allowing the current generation of owners to step away.

Solution and outcome
The owners became aware of the idea of employee ownership through a local EO event and spent a significant amount of time speaking to other EO businesses and taking early advice from Baxendale. Once the owners were comfortable that there was a deal that worked for them and the business, they launched an internal consultation (supported and facilitated by Baxendale) on the new ownership structure. In parallel they also launched a recruitment process for a new managing director.

One year on: (i) the business has moved to a new structure where a majority of its shares were held in a special trust; (ii) a proportion of shares have been distributed directly to employees with additional shares to be offered in the future; (iii) a new managing director is in place, supported by the previous managing director who has moved to a chairman role; and (iv) the business continues to thrive, but now with an even more engaged and motivated workforce.

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