Russell Brown, CEO, Shaw healthcare

The EOT Top 50 – celebrating the biggest and best!

This year sees the tenth anniversary of the introduction of the Employee Ownership Trust. A decade on, over 1,000 companies in the UK have seized the opportunity to make the jump to employee ownership using this model.

To celebrate Employee Ownership Day 2024, RM2 has identified the UK’s largest EOT controlled companies. Many of these names will be familiar from the Employee Ownership Top 50 that operated until 2023 with John Lewis Partnership maintaining its top spot, and household names Riverford and Richer Sounds continuing to fly the flag for successful employee ownership. 

Chris Earnshaw, President of the John Lewis Partnership Council, commented: “At the John Lewis Partnership we are great advocates of employee ownership and firmly believe it is a better way of doing business. In the ten years since the Employee Ownership Trust was established, take up of the model has grown significantly, with thousands of employees benefiting. None of this would be possible without the commitment of the Employee Ownership Association.”

A new entry is Churchill Group, the facilities management group with some 14,000 employees, which transitioned to employee ownership in August 2023 and is officially the second largest EOT in the UK.

James Bradley, CEO of Churchill, commented:Once we started looking into becoming an Employee-Owned Trust, there was no doubt it was the right move for us as an independent business. We felt it really fitted the ethos of the business and our local approach, and it’s been a fantastic way to take Churchill Group forward.

“It’s been fully embraced by our teams who understand our local autonomy and their decision making truly makes a difference and they have a genuine opportunity to share in the future success of the company. One of our core values is ‘doing the right thing’, and nothing embodies that more than empowering our colleagues by making them all an employee-owner.”

Meanwhile, at number three, Shaw healthcare continues to be the largest EOT in the social care sector. Russell Brown (pictured), CEO of Shaw healthcare, said:We’re absolutely delighted with our position in the Top 50. The EOT has been a great journey for us and our employees. Employee ownership has helped us retain our independence, and has had a huge impact on staff retention in a challenging sector.

“Since transitioning to employee ownership four years ago, Shaw has paid out in the region of £5m of profits to its hard-working and committed employees in the form of tax-free EOT bonuses.”

Sarah Anderson of RM2, who compiled the data, commented: “We’re happy to be continuing the tradition of tracking the biggest companies in the employee ownership world to help demonstrate the positive impact the transition can have.

“We’ve looked at the data for several years now, but this year the focus is on EOTs, as we approach the ten-year anniversary of their introduction. It’s particularly gratifying to see sectors such as healthcare and cleaning services, which traditionally offer lower levels of pay, adopting this all-employee ownership model.”    

If your company is controlled by an EOT, and you think you should be in our EOT Top 50, contact us on

Acknowledgements:  The EOT Top 50 is compiled in memory of former RM2 director, Nigel Mason, a leading light in the EO sector, who passed away in 2021.

We are grateful to the eoa for their help in identifying EOT controlled companies (ie companies where at least 51% of the share capital is held by an Employee Ownership Trust).  All errors and omissions are the responsibility of The RM2 Partnership Ltd.  Please email nominals and corrections to

Ground rules:

We identify EOT controlled companies from multiple sources including eoa members, internet searches, professional advisers active in the sector and searches of Companies House records.  The list covers UK registered unquoted companies that are controlled by an Employee Ownership Trust. 

The list is ranked by employee numbers.  Figures are from companies’ latest annual accounts filed at Companies House in May 2024.