Partners at Grant Thornton UK have voted in favour of becoming a shared enterprise firm and starting a consultation on implementation of the shared enterprise model. This would mean a departure from the traditional partner owned and run structure, which is the model adopted by most professional services firms.

The initiative was led by the new incoming chief executive Sacha Romanovitch and the firm said it believes this shared enterprise model, which breaks the margins of traditional partner owned and run structure, "will create an environment where everyone thinks, and acts like an owner and enable the firm to deliver higher profitability".

The proposal was backed by 99% of the firm’s 185 partners.

Grant Thornton UK is now consulting with its employees and anticipates the first stages of this new model will be in place by 1 July 2015.

"My ambition is for all of our people to have a stake in Grant Thornton becoming the go-to firm for growth. The only way we can fully harness the potential of all 4,500 of our people is through shared enterprise – a sense that we are all in this together sharing our thinking and ideas, sharing the responsibility to drive the business forward and sharing in the resulting rewards," Romanovitch said.

"Businesses with shared ownership structures significantly outperform other businesses. In fact; £100 invested in the Esop index (FTSE-calculated UK Employee Ownership Index) on January 1 2003 would now be worth £749, compared to £277 if invested in the FTSE All-Share. They are also recording 55% improvements in productivity and 70% improvements in quality, and performed better in the recession, growing their sales by 11.1% compared to 0.6% for non-employee owned businesses."

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Romanovitch officially takes over from chief executive Scott Barnes on 15 June.