Swindon’s Retrac Group creates employee-ownership structure and appoints new CEO


A family which has owned one of the UK’s leading advanced manufacturing specialists in the Formula 1, automotive and aerospace sectors for five decades, has transferred ownership of its business, Retrac Group, to its employees, makes the 115-strong workforce the beneficiaries of the company’s future success.

Experienced automotive and motorsport executive Dan Walmsley has been appointed as CEO to lead the Group’s two divisions, Retrac Productions Ltd and Retrac Composites Ltd. In tandem, long-standing co-owner and Retrac Productions managing director, Andy Carter, is to step into the role of Chairman of Retrac Group.

Retrac Group, which is now within an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) structure, has been a key supplier to more than half of the Formula 1 World Champions in the past 25 years. It has also diversified its blue-chip client portfolio across multiple sectors, providing engineering in advanced materials, tooling and component manufacture.

Andy Carter said: “We firmly believe that the EOT mechanism is the correct succession plan for the business. Since my father founded Retrac in 1972, the most important aspect of the business is the employees. The average service record of more than a decade stands as testament to the loyalty and commitment of the Retrac workforce.

“The benefits that EOT employee ownership can bring to businesses are widely acknowledged – including improved employee engagement and wellbeing, and better business performance. We want our employees to have the chance to share in future success.”

Retrac Dan WalmsleyDan Walmsley arrives at Retrac having last year been a co-ordinating lynchpin for the Ventilator Challenge UK Consortium. As part of the Cabinet Office response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dan helped co-ordinate multi-site production activities for Airbus, Ford, Siemens, McLaren, Penlon and GKN Automotive. Prior to that he was Motorsport Director at McLaren Automotive from 2016-20, having been Team Principal at FIA World Sportscar Championship entrant Strakka Racing.

Dan said: “Retrac Group is proud to enter a new employee-owned era. It reinforces our outstanding workforce skill-set and commitment, which are the foundation of our offering to customers of increased production flexibility and shorter lead-times.

“I am delighted to join a company as established as Retrac, yet with so much growth potential,” he added. “The Carter family and the Retrac staff have created a company that has long excelled at delivering into some of the most demanding industries through hard work, innovation and re-investment.

“Yet the breadth of applications for innovative, lightweight materials and skilled yet rapid manufacturing is growing exponentially across many sectors, and we see a bright next chapter in the Retrac story.”