The Winch Team

Winch Design is now fully Employee Owned!

Winch Design is proud to announce today that the company is now fully employee owned. Winch has always been a pioneering business and has evolved into an international design studio in the yachting, aviation and architecture industries. Employee Ownership sits beautifully with the Winch ethos as a Company which has always placed the highest value on its people, whose loyalty, talent and commitment have played a vital part in the success of the business. It therefore seems a fitting and natural progression in the history of Winch, that the Senior Leadership Team and the entire cohort continue to build on the wonderful legacy created by Andrew and Jane thirty-five years ago.

It takes a clear vision, a strong culture and a progressive approach to grow to the size and stature of Winch. Everyone involved is immensely proud to be a part of it and excited about what the future holds. Andrew’s vision cannot be underestimated in both successfully laying the foundations of a business that is stronger today than at any point in its history and also knowing that the time is right to further harness the talent, drive and determination of the current team in order for them to grow, nurture and develop Winch Design over the next thirty five years.

It is a natural progression, rather than a change to the current and future modus operandi at Winch. Over the last six years, leadership of Winch has been bolstered with Clive Beharrell as Chairman, Aino Grapin as CEO and long-standing studio heads, Simon Tomlinson and Jim Dixon, made Directors in 2019. This team, with Andrew’s unwavering support and guidance, has taken Winch to the next level and have quietly been working hard to empower and develop the next generation beneath them. Under this leadership, the business has flourished, growing in size, stability and capability, whilst organically transitioning from a ‘yacht designer’ to a global design studio across land, sea and air.

Employee Ownership will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the many clients and partners of Winch who will benefit from the ‘owner mindset’ which will permeate the business. The amalgamation of the heritage and unparalleled experience that Andrew has given and will continue to give to his team, together with the energy and ambition of the next generation will be a powerful combination for the future of Winch.

The Senior Leadership Team: Paulina Gallant, Jim Dixon, Sarah Pratt, Simon Tomlinson, Aino-Leena Grapin, Ignacio Oliva-Velez, Selina McCabe, Lisa Stratton and Andrew Winch (not pictured, Kirsten Hill) 

The Winch Employee Ownership Trust (WEOT) is now the sole shareholder of the company, thus ensuring that the company remains privately held and under the ongoing stewardship of the dedicated Winch team. As Co-Directors of the Operating Board, Aino, Jim and Simon will continue to have responsibility for the leadership of Winch Design, together with the Senior Leadership team, who run the company. Aino Grapin commented: “Winch Design has always been a pioneering studio which I have been honoured to drive forward for the past 5 years, supported by a fantastic team. Andrew has long been a visionary in the industry and this has inspired us to develop a truly innovative studio, both in terms of the projects we design and the management style we adopt. Employee ownership will enable us to stay true to our colours, serve our clients even better and further empower our next generation of talent.”

Andrew’s role has also evolved over recent years. The day-to-day running of the company has been in the hands of the Senior Leadership Team for several years now. Andrew’s confidence in the design teams means he will now also pass creative leadership to Jim Dixon, Director of Yachts and Aviation, and Simon Tomlinson, Director of Architecture. He will focus more on his role as a creative sounding board, participating in regular design reviews with Jim and Simon. Andrew will sit on the Board of Trustees for at least five years and also wishes to broaden his role externally, wanting to inspire young people across the industry at the start of their careers, as well as continuing to expand his patronage of British craftsmanship.

Andrew commented: “I am immensely proud of the team. Today’s announcement is another exciting milestone in our history and such a natural progression of all the great work that has been done to get us to this point. I believe every single person at Winch Design is exceptional and it is their collaborative spirit that is the true strength of the Winch studio. I thank them and also extend huge thanks to our many clients and friends in the industry who have helped us to reach this exciting moment. The Winch DNA is unique and will only get stronger as the adventure continues. 2021 is a special year for Winch, as we celebrate our 35 years in business, but I am so excited to look forward as the next chapter in our history unfolds.”

The Trustee Board - Andrew Winch, Kirsten Hill, Patrick Lewis, Sue Lawrence and Aino-Leena Grapin

More about employee ownership

Employee Ownership Trust (EOT): The purpose of an EOT is to provide permanent long-term employee ownership of the company through holding the company’s shares in Trust for the benefit of all the company’s employees.

Winch Employee Ownership Trust (WEOT): WEOT is the sole shareholder of the company, thus ensuring that the company remains privately held.

The WEOT will be governed by a Board of Trustee Directors, whose role it is to represent Winch employees’ interests and to ensure high levels of employee engagement, which is crucial in a talent-based organisation. The Operating Board of Winch Design will continue to act as a decision-making board, overseen by the Trustee Board. Within 9 months, both Clive and Andrew will relinquish their current Operating Board roles. Clive will remain as Advisor to the Board and ensure a new Chairman is bedded in. Andrew will act as Trustee Director of the newly formed WEOT Board and will remain so for at least five years, together with an independent Trustee Chair, Independent trustee, Aino as CEO and Kirsten Hill as representative from the Senior Leadership Team.

Winch Design is thrilled that the first Trustee Chair will be Patrick Lewis, former CFO of John Lewis and President of the Employee Ownership Association, and the first Independent Trustee will be Sue Lawrence, who has worked with several founders as they transition to an EOT and has extensive experience as a Non-Executive Director across various sectors.

Employee Ownership has become increasingly popular in the UK. The main driver behind the new EOTs being created each week in the UK is as a business succession solution for private company owners. There are now over 470 EOTs in the UK and this number is growing rapidly, particularly in architecture practices where over 25% of AJ100 practices are in the hands of their employees and many smaller practices have also transitioned.

The specific aims among those choosing employee ownership are legacy, preserving a company’s independence and ethos and achieving the right sort of stable long-term new ownership for the company.

Andrew Winch

Biographies

Aino-Leena Grapin, CEO: Aino became CEO of Winch Design 5 years ago, bringing 20 years of experience in leading businesses in creative industries, namely in the art, luxury and technology sectors. Holding an MBA from INSEAD, Aino started her career as a strategy consultant with Bain & Company. She then spent nearly a decade at Christie’s, in a variety of strategic and operational roles. Aino, part of the Operational Board, leads the Senior Leadership Team to ensure Winch Design is as sound commercially as it is creatively. Aino will also be a Trustee Director of the WEOT.

Simon Tomlinson, Director Architecture: Simon trained and qualified as an architect in 2005 and gained extensive international experience before joining Winch Design in 2008. Having managed and completed complex private residential projects for clients in all corners of the world, Simon heads up the expanding Architecture and interiors team with his natural leadership, communication and design skills. He particularly enjoys client interaction and takes immense pride in turning client dreams into reality.

Jim Dixon, Director Yachts and Aviation: Having learnt the craft of ‘how things go together’ in his formative years training as a furniture maker and designer, Jim has applied this meticulous eye for detail and perfection to many areas of the design business; his unique analysis of three-dimensional problems and beautiful aesthetics has helped create some of the studio's most memorable signature projects. Jim has been at Winch Design for over twenty years, having initially nurtured the Winch Aviation department to become a clear industry-leading studio. Jim now leads the combined Yachts and Aviation studio.

Simon Tomlinson, Aino-Leena Grapin and Jim Dixon



For more information please contact:
Lisa Stratton | Head of Marketing & Communications | lisa.stratton@winchdesign.com