The chairman of Leeds established Watson Batty Architects has announced that he will be reducing his role and stake in the business with effect from October.

Paul Ryan, who has been a director of the 41-year-old firm for 23 years and is known for his work for Royal Mail, is to relinquish his 50% shareholding in Watson Batty as he approaches retirement. He will hand over the baton to the four remaining equity directors Peter White, Andrew Grindrod, Richard Merrills and Mark Sidding but will still remain involved with the business in a consultancy role.

During the process Watson Batty Architects will allocate equity shareholding to seven other members of the team as a part of its succession strategy and commitment to broaden ownership with its future generation.

Peter White, Managing Director at Watson Batty Architects said, “Paul has been a fantastic leader for the business and a great inspiration to our team for many years.  He has been instrumental in taking Watson Batty from a £850k turnover Yorkshire business to become a UK leading practice that employs 50 people nationwide working for many leading brands.

Last year we celebrated our 40th anniversary with a re brand and plans to increase turnover to over £4.0m with a five year plan. We are currently on target to achieve that with year on year growth.

We would like to thank Paul for his tireless commitment and wish him the very best transition into retirement.  We are pleased that he is able to maintain a consultant role and assist in concluding the graduation of our talented team into management roles.”

Watson Batty continues to invest heavily in developing its expertise and technological capabilities. The future focused business offers architectural, interior design, and principal designer services in addition to master planning solutions for all sectors and is credited for a number of major public and private sector projects including schools, universities, leisure centres, distribution facilities, residential developments and transport hubs. It’s increasingly broad client base continues to include Royal Mail and Wm Morrison Supermarkets, both of which have been retained clients for decades.

During its 41 years Watson Batty has created over 1 million sq ft of retail space across 19 stores for Wm Morrison Supermarkets, delivered 3.2 million sq ft in mail centres for Royal Mail, designed 4,000 new homes and supported 20,000 new school places in the UK.

It is currently working on a number of significant projects across a varied range of sectors including Wynyard Primary School, Rathbones Bakery facility for Wm Morrison, Crag Road and Kearns Village residential developments for Skipton Properties and the new passenger lounge extension at Leeds Bradford Airport

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BDC 309 : Oct 2023