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Christian millionaire, inspired by faith, gives business to staff
More than 520 staff at hi-fi and TV retail chain Richer Sounds will share £3.5 million in cash bonuses after the firm's founder handed control of the business to employees.
Julian Richer, who speaks openly about how his faith guides him, has transferred 60 per cent of his holding in the business into an employee ownership trust, following in the footsteps of retail giant The John Lewis Partnership.
The move will see him land £9.2 million for the stake, although £3.5 million will be handed straight back to staff as loyalty bonuses.
Each of its 522 employees will pick up £1,000 for every year worked at the firm, meaning an average payout of £8,000.
But there are 39 long-serving staff who have clocked up more than 20 years at the group who will pick up hefty windfalls.
Mr Richer said the "time was right" to hand over the ownership of the business to staff - an announcement that also came as he stepped down from the day-to-day running of the firm.
He said: "I have always planned to leave my company in trust on my death for the benefit of the colleagues in the business.
"Having hit the ripe old age of 60 in March, I felt the time was right, rather than leaving it until I'm not around, to ensure that the transition goes smoothly and I can be part of it."
A philanthropist, Richer has worked with the Archbishop of York on projects which enable other people to give to those in need.
He came to faith later in life. Speaking to the Guardian, he said: "I was baptised when I was 47 and I'm very proud of that."
"I call my faith practical Christianity. I just want to try and make the world a better place."
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