A name that is very familiar to readers of the financial press, Trueforth Shaw plc is one of the UK’s blue-chip companies. Based in Teppingham and Atlantica, Trueforth Shaw is a conglomerate with interests ranging from manufacturing to finance. It also has an industrial division and interests in energy and defence equipment. It is, however, better known to the public for its stable of luxury brands from fashion labels and sportswear to hotels, restaurants and casinos. It produces luxury goods such as watches and fine wine and provides automotive, financial and insurance services. In recent years, the group has further diversified into technology, logistics and property. It also has a number of international joint ventures in areas such as aviation, outsourcing and security. According to one financial commentator, “Trueforth Shaw is not a company; it’s an empire.” There is, indeed, some truth in this statement.
Employing over 1500 people at its main UK office – and with a workforce of over 25,000 in its various companies and concerns worldwide, Trueforth Shaw is a great British success story and a major player in global markets.
The organisational structure of the company is somewhat complex and has changed considerably over the years with its many acquisitions. Aside from its wholly-owned subsidiaries and lucrative joint ventures it also has a number of strategic cross-holdings in other companies, both in the UK and abroad. The management structure of the group has also evolved over time and it has seen several major re-organisations in recent years.
As a public limited company, the majority of Trueforth Shaw’s shares are traded on the Stock Exchange. The most significant shareholders are the large institutional investors (mainly pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and hedge funds), but there are also a large number of small private investors with varying numbers of ordinary shares. It is at its Annual General Meeting in the Dreadnought Rooms in London, that you will see many of these smaller investors who make the journey to the capital from all over the UK. But the real influence on the company – and the people to whom the board of directors pay most attention– are the institutional investors. Among these are a number of activist investors eager to assert their own vision of how Trueforth Shaw should develop and the direction it should go in.
A significant minority of the group’s shares are still held in trust by the founding Trueforth family, represented on the Board by at least one of its members. Historically, this always included the head of the Trueforth family. The current Chairman of the Group is Lord Alistair Trueforth. His father, Lord Anthony Trueforth, who stepped down several years ago as Chairman and Chief Executive, was one of the City’s more colourful figures and something of a legend in financial and social circles. From his club in Pall Mall, the Alexandreum, to his private box at Royal Ascot, “Tony” Trueforth as he was known, wielded power and influence for a generation. The family’s ancestral seat, Trueforth Hall, is situated in the county of Teppinghamshire, which has long been associated with the company and remains today at the centre of the Group’s global activities.