|26 Jan 2024
Tuckwell and Hersey sell Action Group to their team via an Employee Ownership Trust
By Kath Hudson
Cheryl Hersey and Dawn Tuckwell have retained an interest in the business
Photo: Action Group
|Dawn Tuckwell and Cheryl Hersey, founders of Action Group, have sold the company to their team via an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).
Both will remain involved in advisory and executive capacities – with Tuckwell working as director of sales.
The company was set up in 2010 as Action PR to specialise in the health, fitness and lifestyle sectors and was rebranded in 2020 to Action Group.
The business has worked with hundreds of leading brands since it was founded, including Everyone Active, Orangetheory, Parkwood Leisure and Heartcore.
The formation of the EOT follows the appointment of Daniel Pearson as managing director in late 2022, when the founders reduced their operational involvement.
EOTs are a government initiative aimed at promoting employee ownership.
They give owners the opportunity to sell their business to a trust via a mechanism that avoids the payment of capital gains tax on the proceeds of the sale.
It means employees have a meaningful interest in the future success of the company, including a say in how it’s run and a share of the rewards, while also benefitting from certain tax breaks on earnings.
Action Group currently has eight full time employees who will benefit from the new EOT, plus a roster of freelancers. The company turned over £975,776 in the year to March 2023 yielding a healthy pre-tax operating profit of £462,472 or £371,188 after tax.
Hersey said: “We’ve always endeavoured to be a progressive business and we wanted to future-proof the company and the careers of those who work in it.
"Creating an EOT felt like the perfect way to reward our longstanding, hard-working team. There are also benefit for anyone new joining the team.”
Commenting on the deal, Pearson said: “We’re now a business run by, and for, the benefit of employees – this means having the most engaged team in the industry and I look forward to capitalising on this to drive our growth through 2024.
“We’re fully embedded in the industry, which means we understand the purchasing journey from all sides and we’re able to develop strategies that help our clients towards commercial success,” he said.
Talking to HCM, Tuckwell said: “Our dream is for Action Group to continue to be an agent of change in the fitness industry through delivering genuine creativity. We believe fitness campaigns should be as creative as those in the automotive, tech and entertainment sectors.
“Our campaigns have played a significant part in the growth of the health and fitness industry,” she continued, “but we still think fitness brands can lack creativity and bravery when it comes to marketing and PR. The Action team is motivated to drive forward creativity in our industry and push boundaries, which ultimately motivates consumers to engage with fitness and wellness. Our aim is for Action to become synonymous with that creativity.”
Pearson was formally appointed as a director of Action Communications Group Ltd on 15 December 2023. Hersey will continue to support him as a director and Tuckwell has joined the board of Action Group Trustees Ltd, the new company which has taken a controlling interest in Action Communications Group Ltd, to ensure the business continues to operate to the same high standards.
Notable employee-owned companies in the UK are The John Lewis Partnership and Riverford Organic. Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) also uses the model. Typically, employees gain shares or a part of a share pool on joining a business and relinquish these benefits when they leave.