Tech R&D firm Consult Red becomes employee-owned

Pictured are Karen Bach, chairman, and Andrew Stewart, CEO, with Consult Red founding directors

Consult Red, the Shipley-based technology development firm, is becoming an employee-owned company.

Consult Red works with some of the world’s largest brands to develop cutting-edge in-home entertainment technology and other innovative, smart, secure, ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) products. 

The directors of Consult Red are transferring shares of the £18m turnover business to an Employee-owned Trust (EOT) to benefit employees.

Established in 2003 by five engineers, Consult Red works with many of the world’s leading brands, including Virgin Media and Liberty Global, Sky and Comcast, and AT&T and DirecTV. In the last 12 months alone, Consult Red has grown its team by 60 people to over 220 strong (up 37 per cent) across its three offices in the UK, Poland and the US.

This growth and job creation is driven by increasing demand for smart, connected products and pioneering developments in media entertainment and ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) devices and systems.

Employee ownership works well for a knowledge-based business like Consult Red, which joins many well-known firms such as John Lewis and Richer Sounds in becoming employee-owned.

The Employee Ownership Association (EOA) says more than 470 businesses have now adopted the model, with at least 50 more preparing to follow suit. Recent converts include Riverford, the organic vegetable box company and Aardman, the Bristol-based animation studio behind Wallace & Gromit, and a growing number of consultancy firms including PA Consulting, BMT Group, TTP Group and many more. 

Over the last 20 years, Consult Red has built a strong reputation for developing and delivering cutting-edge technologies. They have built an enviable track record of working with clients to bring new technologies to market. Connected devices and systems developed by Consult Red are currently in more than 30 million homes worldwide. 

Andrew Stewart, CEO at Consult Red, said: “The success of Consult Red reflects the changing face of R&D. The company has led the way in providing services to clients large and small who need to access highly talented technology development teams without incurring delay or ongoing costs.

“This model fits with today’s economy where successful firms deliver innovation by attracting and retaining the best talent in agile teams who are ready to go. 

“This is such a proud moment for my team and me. We recognise that our success is founded on the value of our people. Transferring ownership to our employees means we can continue to be guided by our principles; that the company’s value is embedded in the skills, expertise and diligence of its team. Employee ownership will strengthen the business and is the perfect way to recognise the hard work and talent of our team.” 

Karen Bach, chairman of Consult Red, said: “Consult Red has built an amazingly talented team working with top tier global customers who value the team’s tech expertise hugely. We have an exciting journey ahead of us, building on that talent and helping new customers with their tech projects.

“The transition today to an employee-owned business makes our journey ahead even more exciting as good people get rewarded directly for their good work, and that is truly a win-win for everyone.” 

Deb Oxley, chief executive of the EOA, said: “We congratulate Consult Red and its new employee-owners – their move to employee ownership will sustain the values and independence of the business for the longer term. 

“Businesses that give employees a stake and a say build trust and shared responsibility, therefore uniting leaders and employees behind a common purpose. This leaves the business in the best position to flex and adapt to recover from challenges and to deliver on new opportunities.”

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