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A millionaire boss who set up his business as a teenager has been dishing out huge bonuses of up to £20,000 ($27,000) and even handed over control of the company to employees - all while letting them use holiday homes in European holiday hotspots like Amsterdam.
Julian Richer is the founder and managing director of Richer Sounds, a high street home entertainment retailer selling a range of hi-fi, home cinema and TV equipment.
According to the company's website, Richer began buying and selling hi-fi separates at school when he was just 14. In 1978, when he was aged 19, he then opened his first shop on London Bridge Walk, with the help of photography retailer Vic Odden.
According to the Sunday Times Rich List, as of 2019, Richer was worth a whopping £160 million ($219m)
However, that year, he made a bold move when he decided to hand control of the business over to what's known as an Employee Owned Trust, which means Richer Sounds is now 'controlled and majority owned by the people who work in the company'.
As part of the process, Richer also decided to hand out one-off bonuses from his own money, equating to £4m ($5.5m) across the company.
Each employee was awarded £1,000 ($1,400) per year of service - which, considering some people have worked with Richer Sounds for more than 25 years, ended up being a pretty huge bonus.
That's not all, either, as workers are also allowed to have free reign of holiday homes in the Netherlands, Spain, Ireland, Italy and beyond.
A company spokesperson told LADbible: "As part of the transition to an employee-owned company whereby he sold 60% of his shares in the company to an employee-owned trust, Julian rewarded every colleague with £1,000 per year of service as a one-off bonus out of his own pocket - this was around £4 million.
"The average was around £8,000 ($11,000), but we do have some very longstanding colleagues who have worked for Richer Sounds for 25+ years.
"There are several holiday homes for colleagues to use: Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Dublin and Venice in Europe, as well as a number in the UK."
In his book The Ethical Capitlaist, Richer explained what he meant by calling Richer Sounds - which has 51 stores nationwide and also trades online - a 'responsible business', having through about how a business can be successfuly while also benefiting society.
He wrote: "I mean treating staff, customers and suppliers honestly, openly and respectfully. I mean doing what we say we will do. I mean taking responsibility for our actions, owning up when things go wrong and setting out to put them right. I mean seeing ourselves as an integral part of society and paying our dues - especially taxes - accordingly.
"By following this approach, I believe we create a virtuous circle for ourselves: not only is it the right thing to do, we sleep better at night, and I believe a fair and honest approach to customers and staff leads to a huge competitive advantage."
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