The ECI Growth Survey

Chris Morris is a believer in the untapped potential lurking in many of Britain’s owner-managed companies.

He’s confident his own leadership of Citation, a small business advisory firm, will provide a case in point.

Citation was named as one of the ‘UK’s 100 Best Companies to Work For’ by The Sunday Times in 2015. We were a million miles away from that two years ago.

Chris Morris, CEO

Mr Morris, the former boss of hotel booking site LateRooms after its sale to travel giant Tui, joined the Wilmslow-based Citation in 2013. Initially, Chris was attracted by the potential for improvement within the business, he says.

“It looked very much like an owner-managed lifestyle business – good at its core but underinvested in. It was a real opportunity with a large addressable market.”

Management was strengthened, the company was rebranded and technology was introduced to the employment law and health and safety consultancy’s processes, new products were deployed and added through acquisitions.

Improving the working culture at the business was also key – something that he says should be considered vital in any private equity buyout.

“Citation was named as one of the ‘UK’s 100 Best Companies to Work For’ by The Sunday Times in 2015. We were a million miles away from that two years ago."

“Now we work hard and reward people. We don’t sit in the pub on Friday afternoons. Most people have risen to the challenge.”

Sales at the company are about £36 million. Mr Morris says that should grow by about 80 per cent over the next five years. After all, a CEO’s job is never finished.

“Being a lifestyle business is easy. We’re not in that world. We still have a lot of work to do.”

2013

£36million

80 %