A tribute to workers’ champion, Philip Baxendale OBE

We remember our founder, who always put his employees first.

Are you the kind of person who would choose your principles over personal gain? Philip Baxendale was. In 1983, he turned down multi-million pound offers for the leading boiler company his grandfather founded, and which he had worked in for decades; instead choosing to sell it to its workers at a significant discount. He later explained it was all down to fairness: “I did not believe that it would have been fair for the family to receive very large amounts of money, leaving the employees with a high risk of redundancy”.

Convinced of the benefits of employee ownership, he then established our parent company, choosing to invest his own money in the furtherance of worker ownership. And why? So that “larger numbers of people will lead happier, more productive, wealthier and more fulfilling lives that would otherwise be possible.” These aren’t the lofty ideals of Silicon Valley; they’re straight out of Lancashire.

It is an immense loss to us, and the whole employee ownership community, to learn that Philip Baxendale passed away earlier this month, leaving behind a much-loved family.

Our newest trustee Dasha French said, “We owe Philip so much. His vision over 35 years ago set in train a chain of events that mean today I’m more than an employee; I’m an owner. I truly value that.”

For Ewan Hall, director, “It’s an honour realising Philip’s ambitions every day. He wanted strong companies to transfer into employee ownership and to then run as successful businesses with partnership cultures. Our whole business is about that, and it’s a delight to make it happen. We will always remember Philip with great fondness; visionary seems too small a word somehow.”

We are all deeply saddened by Philip’s passing and wish his family every comfort.

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