Leonard Curtis Legal has advised Sheffield-based International Organisation Development Ltd (IOD PARC) on the establishment of an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

IOD PARC is a management consultancy and globally recognised leader in supporting international development. With staff based in the UK, Nepal, Australia and France, the company partners with its network of agencies, associates and locally based consultants. Over the last 23 years, the business has worked on over 1,000 assignments in more than 100 countries worldwide.

The law firm was introduced to IOD PARC by its accountants and worked closely with Hentons Corporate Finance, who provided corporate finance and legal advice to the sellers.

The deal saw the privately-owned management consultancy firm remodel by transferring the ownership of the business from the majority two shareholders - and a number of minority shareholders - to all eligible employees as an EOT.

The transaction also involved the negotiation of the usual share purchase documents - together with tailored EOT documentation - to consider specific concerns of the employee group, along with a shareholders agreement, to govern the relationship between the EOT and continuing shareholders.

Mark Keen, principal consultant, co-founder and one of the former majority shareholders of IOD PARC continues to be chair of the company board and also joins the board of the EOT as a trustee director. Company co-founder Julian Gayfer remains as managing director and principal consultant.

Leonard Curtis Legal’s team was led by Jonathan Roberts and Laura Green (pictured), who is based in the firm’s Leeds office. This EOT transaction is the second that the national legal firm has undertaken in Yorkshire in recent months.

Mark Keen said: “Since we began the company in 1998, our employees have been central to our mission to support organisations working in international development to increase their impact and improve their results. The continuing sustainability of the organisation wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and contribution of our employees, and we want to recognise this as we move into the future.

“We also want to continue to bring in more expertise to strengthen our practice and provide our field-leading services. We feel confident that a move to an EOT model is the right step for us to achieve this. We’ve now built a new management team to drive future success, and employees are now set to benefit from it.

“Leonard Curtis Legal came highly recommended as specialists in EOTs, supported by excellent corporate law credentials when it comes to mergers and acquisitions. They certainly fulfilled our expectations and we were most impressed with their practical approach and depth of knowledge in this area.”

Jonathan Roberts, director of Leonard Curtis Legal, said: “Employee ownership continues to be an attractive option for businesses across the UK who wish to protect their legacy and motivate staff.”

Chris Sellars from Hentons Corporate Finance added: “We are pleased to have advised the selling shareholders to allow another great business to transition to employee ownership. IOD Parc is an excellent example of a business with engaged employees who I am sure will thrive under the new structure.”