The Priory Hotel in Beauly, near Inverness, has transitioned its 46 staff members to employee ownership as founder Stuart Hutton prepares to retire after more than 40 years in the job.
After putting the business up for sale and considering a number of offers, he decided to make the switch to an employee-owned structure to avoid a potential buy-out by a chain. An employee ownership trust has been formed which will hold 72 per cent of the shares on behalf of the employees. Kenneth Hutton, Stuart’s son, will retain the bulk of the remaining shareholding in the 39-bedroom hotel.
He will become managing director of the company and oversee its operation as his father begins to remove himself from the business, while Kate Melens will be the hotel’s general manager.
The transition to employee ownership was supported by Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). There are around 100 employee-owned companies operating in Scotland, with approximately 7,000 employee-owners generating a combined turnover of around £940 million.