First Event becomes an employee-owned company

Leeds-based event specialists transition to employee ownership trust (EOT) model

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Pictured: Richard Murphy, First Event MD Credit: Andy Benge

Specialist events company First Event have shared their recent initiative in making the move to becoming an employee-owned business. Over the last five years the Leeds-based organisation has gone from strength to strength, growing to become one of the largest independent events companies in Yorkshire and ranked as one of the UK’s leading event companies.

Throughout the various challenges posed by the last twelve months, First Event has succeeded in expanding its virtual event offering to provide an exceptional level of online events for both existing and new clients. As live events tentatively begin to make a return, First Event now looks to have an even brighter future with the company reaching the decision to make First Event an employee-owned business.

With multiple global client wins, First Event are now running virtual events for up to 35,000 people across multiple time zones and working on exciting, innovative virtual event projects with clients including the NHS all while maintaining the industry leading offering they provided before the pandemic, ready for the return of travel, events and more.

The business ownership has now transferred into an employee ownership trust (EOT), with employees set to instantly benefit from the future success of the business. All previous shareholders and directors will remain within the business in exactly the same capacity, with the day-to-day operations remaining the same to ensure they continue to support the companies long standing client base and ongoing growth plans.

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Richard Murphy, Managing Director – First Event “The last twelve months have been really hard on the events industry, but it has also been a real eye-opener to how devoted and invested our employees are in making First Event succeed, not just for our company but for our clients too. The pandemic has highlighted how important teamwork is and how much we have pulled together to grow stronger as a company. The EOT is all about empowering the team and the employees who all are now direct beneficiaries of the business.Becoming company owned isn’t just good for our company and our growth plans, it’s also aimed as a ‘thank you’ to every member of our amazing team”

Catherine Wallace, Employee Engagement Manager – First Event “We believe an Employee Ownership Trust is a great way of ensuring the legacy and integrity of First Event. One of our main aims is to ensure our employees have even more of a voice in the company through the creation of an employee council. The benefits of First Event becoming an EOT are vast, statistics show that EOTs have greater employee engagement and commitment which in turn drives innovation and business performance”

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