Swift Research becomes employee-owned

Press release: 24th November 2023 - Swift Research Employee Ownership Press Release

Since it was founded in 1985, Swift Research has grown from a small start-up set up by two friends, into a leading research agency in the sensory and fragrance sector, helping to shape the future of household products by providing insight to international corporations and global fragrance houses across Europe and beyond.

After 38 years of private ownership, Swift Research became employee-owned on Friday 24th November 2023, after the previous owners, Sandra & Martin Penfold, sold their shares to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

The EOT will hold the shares on behalf of Swift's employees. As an employee-owned business, staff will be encouraged to actively contribute to the future direction of the company and, as beneficiaries of the trust, they will directly benefit from the future success of the company.

The decision to become employee-owned was driven by the desire of its founder and co-owner, Sandra Penfold, to hand the company over to those who helped her build it, to show appreciation for their efforts and secure the long-term future of the business as an independent research agency.

Upon announcing their transition to employee ownership, outgoing owners Sandra & Martin Penfold expressed their delight that Swift had become an employee-owned business, adding "This fulfils our desire that the business, which Sandra founded 38 years ago, will continue to flourish after we step back from the day-to-day management of it. We have every confidence that the team have the ability to take Swift Research forwards to even more exciting times".

Speaking on behalf of the employees, Katie Giles, CTO, said "This is a fantastic opportunity for all of us; not only does it provide job security, knowing that Swift will be around for many years to come, but it also gives staff the chance to shape the future of Swift Research and benefit from its success. Since announcing our plans, the feedback we have had from the team has been overwhelmingly positive and we are all really excited to see what the future holds as we embark on the next chapter of Swift Research".

Swift Research joins a growing sector of 1,600 employee-owned businesses (EOB's) in the UK. A recent report into the industry (EO Knowledge Programme), showed employee owners to be 8-12% more productive, than non-EOBs. This results in the EO sector contributing disproportionately to the UK economy; driving 1.7 - 2.1% of economic activity, despite only representing 0.1% of businesses.