UK motorsport supplier Retrac moves to employee ownership model

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Retrac Group, a UK-based advanced manufacturing specialist in the Formula 1, automotive and aerospace sectors, is to move to an employee ownership model. Following five decades of ownership by the Carter family, the company’s ownership has been transferred to an employee ownership trust (EOT) structure, which makes the 115-strong workforce the beneficiaries of the company’s future success.

Experienced automotive and motorsport executive Dan Walmsley has been appointed as CEO to lead the group’s two divisions, Retrac Productions and Retrac Composites. In tandem, long-standing co-owner and Retrac Productions managing director, Andy Carter, is to step into the role of chairman of Retrac Group.

“We firmly believe that the EOT mechanism is the correct succession plan for the business,” said Carter. “Since my father founded Retrac in 1972, the most important aspect of the business has been the employees. The average service record of more than a decade stands as testament to the loyalty and commitment of the Retrac workforce. The benefits that EOT employee ownership can bring to businesses are widely acknowledged – including improved employee engagement and well-being, and better business performance. We want our employees to have the chance to share in future success.”

Dan Walmsley arrives at Retrac having last year been a coordinating lynchpin for the VentilatorChallenge UK consortium. As part of the Cabinet Office response to the Covid-19 pandemic, he helped coordinate multi-site production activities for Airbus, Ford, Siemens, McLaren, Penlon and GKN Automotive. Before that, he was motorsport director at McLaren Automotive from 2016-20, having been team principal at FIA World Sportscar Championship entrant Strakka Racing.

As CEO, Walmsley will oversee the day-to-day running of the group. “Retrac Group is proud to enter a new employee-owned era,” he said. “It reinforces our outstanding workforce skill set and commitment, which are the foundation of our offering to customers of increased production flexibility and shorter lead times.

“I am delighted to join a company as established as Retrac, yet with so much growth potential,” added Walmsley. “The Carter family and the Retrac staff have created a company that has long excelled at delivering into some of the most demanding industries through hard work, innovation and reinvestment. Yet the breadth of applications for innovative, lightweight materials and skilled yet rapid manufacturing is growing exponentially across many sectors, and we see a bright next chapter in the Retrac story.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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