BrewDog boss hands staff £100m of shares in bid to move on from ‘toxic’ workplace claims

BrewDog boss James Watt plans to give away around £100m of shares as the Scottish brewer attempts to move on from its reputation of being a ‘toxic’ workplace.

Employees will be in line for payouts of up to £120,000 each, as founder and chief executive Watt says he will hand over more than 3.7m shares – nearly a fifth of his stake in the craft beer firm – to salaried staff.

The move will see Watt reducing his stake in the business from 24.2% to 19.2% after awarding the shares, which will initially be held in an employee benefit trust.

More than 750 workers are expected to be eligible for the free stock options and will be awarded around £30,000 each year, over a four-year period.

Figures are based on the most recent round of fundraising, which valued BrewDog at around £1.8bn.

Read more: BrewDog CEO hires private investigators to investigate ‘defamation’ 

The move comes as the group announces its future ambitions for “beer, people and the planet” to mark its 15-year anniversary.

“This is about ensuring that we win collectively as a team and fully recognise all the hard work our people contribute to making this business a success,” said Watt.

“We believe that this can help us to create a radical new type of company where employees are genuinely connected to the business.

“We want to encourage our teams to act and behave like business owners, by rewarding them just like business owners.”

A group of 60 former employees previously accused Brewdog of fostering a “culture of fear” within the business, citing “toxic attitudes” towards junior staff, who were left “burnt out, afraid and miserable”.

The firm is currently being prepared for flotation on the stock market, possibly as soon as next year.

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