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North Wales IT business becomes entirely employee-owned

North Wales-based IT support services specialist, Pro-Networks, has announced its transformation into an entirely employee-owned business, following the retirement of founder and managing director, Paul Crudge.

From today, Friday 4 March, Pro-Networks has become an Employee-Owned Trust (EOT) business. Each member of the company’s 35 strong workforce, who has worked there for at least 12 months, is now a beneficiary of the EOT, which will hold shares on their behalf as long as they remain an employee of the company.  Many of the employees are long serving members of the team.

An established and successful business for over 20 years, with 350 customers worldwide, Pro-Networks has joined a host of other companies across the UK, which have adopted this ownership model since it was first introduced by the Government in 2014.  Renowned EOTs include John Lewis Partnership, Richer Sounds and Aardman Animations.

An experienced new board has been formed at Pro-Networks, consisting of new chief executive officer, Geoff Coote, and two non-executive directors, Ian Traynor and Stephen Blank, who will also be Chair. The strong senior management team will continue to manage day-to-day operations and commercial aspects of the business from its headquarters in Deeside, with input from an Employee Advisory Council (EAC) member. This Council will consist of a number of employees, including a chair and a representative of each department, enabling its members to listen, record and influence the management team.

Chief executive officer Geoff Coote says: “A great deal of effort and planning went into structuring this deal with the interests of customers and employees as the absolute priority.  By gifting his shares in Pro-Networks to the EOT for the ultimate benefit of our employees, Paul has ensured his positive and long-lasting legacy. Each and every one of our valued employees has a genuinely vested interest in continuing to serve our customers to the very best of their ability.  We are very excited for what lies ahead for us as a business following this change in structure.”

For further information on Pro-Networks and its move to an EOT business, visit

Photo  left to right:

  1. Founder and former managing director of Pro-Networks, Paul Crudge, has handed over the business to an Employee-Owned Trust.

Paul Crudge with Employee Advisory Council Chair, Sarah Birchil, Accounts Assistant.

  1. Senior Management Team at Pro-Networks

Simon Gainey (sales manager), Leanne Tutill (financial controller), Ian Traynor (non-executive director), Geoff Coote (chief executive officer), Stephen Blank (chair), Zig Kruschke (support manager) & Carl Jarvis (customer service and marketing manager).


According to EOT Survey, the key features of an EOT are:

  • New incentive for company owners to exit by selling to an employee trust
  • Currently the most tax-efficient exit route available
  • Introduced in 2014 to stimulate a ‘John Lewis’ economy
  • Finance for such transitions available from banks and specialist lenders
  • Complete exemption from Capital Gains Tax in year when trust owns more than 50% of the relevant company
  • Inheritance tax relief on share transfers also available
  • Vendors can sell, crystallise gain, claim relief and be paid on deferred terms
  • Trust must operate for the benefit of all employees on similar terms but does not need to distribute shares
  • Cash bonuses for employees of EOT controlled companies up to £3,600 per employee per annum are free of income tax but not national insurance.
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