A candid and transparent conversation with the CEO of Version 1, Tom O’Connor

In an insightful interview published on Sunday, June 26th 2022, the Sunday Independent was given a very transparent account of significant news for Version 1 and the company’s employees. 2022 has been a major milestone in the digital transformation specialist’s journey with the recent announcement that Partners Group will be acquiring the majority investment in Version 1.

With Version 1’s previous majority investor Volpi Capital finishing up its 5-year journey in 2022, over 20 firms were interested in becoming investors in Version 1. As Samantha McCaughren reported in the Sunday Independent following her interview with Tom O’Connor, there was one area that Version 1 senior leaders sought to quiz investors on – and it even came as a shock to some! This was ESG (environmental, social and governance). With Diversity playing a huge role in ESG reporting, McCaughren noted that Version 1 was willing to put its money where its mouth was when it came to diversity in the investor assessment process.

Tom O’Connor, CEO of Version 1, said:

It came as a shock to some people that we would quiz them on it. There was one firm (which I won’t name) and I read their ESG report and I pointed out that they had turned up to the meeting with 17 men. They said to us afterwards that they’d never been challenged like that.”

Tom also brought Samantha behind the scenes regarding the crossroads Version 1 had naturally reached in its journey with previous investor Volpi Capital, bringing forth the need to seek new majority investors.

Version 1’s management was working on the next phase of growth and had called the strategy 10X. How do we get to 10 times our current size? It seems mad – but you take it back and realise we’ve doubled 10 times since we started – so this would only be another three and a half times. That gave us the ambition, the fire to say there’s nothing really stopping us here,  let’s really go for it. Let’s really go after the market and the opportunity that’s out there.

One area of great interest to the Sunday Independent and its readers was the fact that Version 1 management and employees own 30% of the business. This means that Partners Group are coming in to back Version 1’s management team and the plan they’ve come up with. Tom explained to the Sunday Independent that all 2229 Version 1 employees would receive financial rewards as a milestone bonus. This milestone bonus will be in addition to the 20% of profits that Version 1 shares with its employees on a quarterly basis.

We do a profit share, where 20%+ of our profit every quarter goes to our people, based on how they perform and how the company performs. We’ve also given a milestone bonus to all employees and that’s indicative of our culture. I believe in stakeholder capitalism. It’s not about the cult of the CEO, or one or two or three people. It’s about everybody. We have approx. €8 million aside to give a bonus to everybody who wasn’t a shareholder, based on their tenure. We’re setting it up institutionally, because everybody’s going to be a shareholder in this next phase of growth. Everybody’s going to share.

Read more from this insightful deep dive with Tom O’Connor and other news by subscribing to the Independent.ie online and check out the full article overview here.