NEWS29 November 2023

Swift Research shifts to employee ownership

News UK

UK – Yorkshire-based market research agency Swift Research has become 100% employee-owned after 38 years in business.

Swift office in Wetherby, Leeds

Founded in 1985, the full-service agency, based in Wetherby on the outskirts of Leeds, offers qualitative and quantitative research and works with clients in the sensory and fragrance, personal care and automotive sectors.

The business became employee-owned on 24th November 2023, after owners Sandra Penfold and Martin Penfold sold their shares to an employee ownership trust (EOT).

The EOT will hold the shares on behalf of Swift’s employees. As an employee-owned business, staff will be encouraged to contribute to the future direction of the company and, as beneficiaries of the trust, they will directly benefit from its future success.

The decision to become employee-owned was based on Sandra Penfold’s desire to hand Swift over to the team in order to secure its long-term future as an independent agency, the company said.

Swift joins a number of research agencies who have become employee-owned in recent years, including MM-Eye, DJS Research and The Nursery. There are around 1,600 employee-owned businesses in the UK.

Sandra Penfold and Martin Penfold, former owners, Swift Research, said: “This fulfils our desire that the business, which Sandra founded 38 years ago, will continue to flourish after we step back from the day-to-day management of it. We have every confidence that the team have the ability to take Swift Research forwards to even more exciting times”.

Speaking on behalf of the employees, Katie Giles, chief technology officer, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for all of us; not only does it provide job security, knowing that Swift will be around for many years to come, but it also gives staff the chance to shape the future of Swift Research and benefit from its success.

“Since announcing our plans, the feedback we have had from the team has been overwhelmingly positive and we are all really excited to see what the future holds as we embark on the next chapter of Swift Research.”