Fleming, Dodlsey, Clark and Day at the Reward office fitted out by Ben Johnson. Credit: via Candid

MBO fuels Ben Johnson ambitions

The York-headquartered commercial interiors firm, acquired by its management a year ago, has won a string of contracts and opened a third base as it looks to expand beyond its core offices market.

Offices in York and Newcastle have now been joined by a third in Fitzrovia, London, servicing projects including a 25,000 sq ft fit out of office and lab space at Battersea Power Station.

Projects delivered by the firm include the new base of Reward Finance at 12 King Street in Leeds, which saw the business relocate from Central House in August 2023.

Diversification over the last year has seen Ben Johnson complete fit outs spanning more than 40,000 sq ft on behalf of financial and professional services clients, as well as a further 40,000 sq ft for gaming and technology businesses.

The company has also completed projects for engineering businesses, mixed use schemes and fit outs in medical and laboratory environments that cover approximately 30,000 sq ft in each sector.

In December 2022, Emma Dodsley, Lee Fleming and Matthew Day led the buyout of Ben Johnson following the retirement of managing director Adrian Rumble. They were advised on the deal by Susan Clark, partner in LCF Law’s corporate team.

Finance director Fleming said: “The MBO followed two years of careful succession planning with Adrian’s support to ensure everyone had clearly defined roles and that each stage of the process was prepared. It’s paid dividends and although businesses often lose people during takeovers, we haven’t lost a single employee from our team, which is ultimately the most important part of our business.

Director Dodsley, who oversees sales and marketing, added: “Office transformations will always be a big part of our work and especially now with businesses recognising that modern offices must provide a sense of community and not just desks, in order to encourage employees to enjoy being back in the office. As a result, we’ve completed projects for the likes of Reward Finance and Equifax during 2023.

“Essentially though, we had ambitions to expand into more sectors, which has been a key focus over the past 12 months. We’re now working with manufacturers that aspire to offer first-class staff breakout areas to aid recruitment and gaming companies that want a genuine wow factor as soon as you walk into their premises, as well as several private hospitals and clinics where patients want to feel indulged. We’re now looking forward to building on this throughout 2024.”

Clark said: “The success of Ben Johnson’s MBO is down to very careful succession planning, and the importance of this can never be underestimated. Adrian had a carefully prepared exit strategy which he implemented over a long period of time and selected and appointed the right people to lead the MBO.”

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