Riverford Farm entrepreneur Guy Watson is set to take his business into employee ownership.The businessman – who employs more than 500 staff at the farm near Staverton in South Devon and at sister sites in Hampshire, Cambridgeshire and Yorkshire – said that the move makes good business sense with happier engaged staff and tax benefits.

Mr Watson, 56, has been considering the move for around ten years and first consulted with Sir Stuart Hampson, former chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, in 2005.Now the farm and internet retail business is well past the 2008 recession, Mr Watson said it was the right time to go ahead.He said: “We are ten years on, more people have gone employee owned, they have ironed out problems and the pitfalls are now better documented plus we have matured as an organisation. The main benefits is better engagement and performance from staff.

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