Construction company becomes Scotland's largest employee-owned business

Tough Construction, which is based in Glasgow, has announced that its 500 staff members will take over the business.

Tough Construction with 500 staff becomes Scotland’s largest employee-owned business Tough Construction via Supplied

A construction firm has become Scotland’s largest staff-owned business after handing over the reins to more than 500 employees.

Glasgow-based Tough Construction announced on Monday that all of its 500 staff members will be given a controlling stake in the business.

The three major shareholders – Bob Leishman, George Duncan and Kenny MacKenzie – decided to move the company into employee ownership after considering their succession options.

“Our success is largely due to the loyal team we have at Tough Construction”, Bob Leishman said.

“We are fortunate that we have a low turnover relative to the sector, and that’s largely because we like to think we look after our people well, offering opportunities for training and development.

“A sale to a third party may have disrupted that. This move to employee ownership allows the company to continue to offer excellent service to our clients, and secure employment for our people.”

The firm has put its shares into an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT), which will see its staff given a genuine say in how it is run, and prevent major disruptions to functioning.

Bob Leishman added: “A sale to an employee ownership trust lets us have our exit, knowing that the company is in safe hands.

“We have a talented leadership team ready to take over and it’s time for the old guard to step aside. So far, the news has been well received by staff and clients. It remains business as usual and that’s good news for everyone.”

Tough Construction, which was founded in 1974, works on projects for house builders throughout Central Scotland, Perthshire, Fife and Ayrshire.

The firm has made two new board appointments as Gary Hassan becomes Commercial Director while Mhari Greer is promoted to Finance Director.

Managing Director Alistair Lauder said of the changes: “The shareholders are demonstrating tremendous vision in transferring their shareholding to the trust.

“I believe it is good for the company and for the employees. The company will celebrate its 50th year in business next year, it will be good to do that as an employee-owned business. It is a real privilege to be at the helm of such a great business at this exciting time.

“I’m confident that with the brilliant individuals we have working with us that the future for Tough Construction will be very bright.

“On behalf of everyone at Tough I would like to thank Bob, Kenny and George for their hard work and the opportunities they have created for all employees”.

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