About Employee Ownership(EO) Legacy

The EOLegacy website and book is full of great resources on Employee Ownership (EO). There are four easy steps to get a full understanding of the book "Swapping Desks - Pioneering Business Succession via Employee Ownership". What are your waiting for?

  • 1

    Do you want to realise your assets?

    Learn how to realise your assets for retirement and implement a socially responsible method of succession

  • 2

    A NEW Business Model

    To learn how our 50 year old family manufacturing company was saved from closure

  • 3

    Save Jobs and Skills

    Start reading to understand how employee ownership and employee-owned cooperatives can “Unlock Australia’s Wealth”

  • 4

    Empower Employees

    Learn how your former employees can re-invent the business for the future. Coping with IoT digital disruption and Manufacturing 4.0

Learn more about the author, click here!

“Swapping Desks” Overview & Contents

The book has four themes: Progression, ESOP, Realisation & Employee Owned Cooperative Book “Contents” available for downloading [here]



Cliff McMaster started C-Mac Industries in his garage in 1962.  Half a century later he had passed away, leaving his son Rob with a successful medium-sized company employing 47 people and turning over $4.5 million per annum.


In his mid-fifties and facing impending retirement, Rob, general manager and sole family member remaining in the company, started seeking a succession plan.  How would he extract the assets for the sole remaining shareholder and director, his retired mother?  How would he prepare for his golden years?  After initial investigations his options appeared limited:


  • Family members didn’t want the business
  • No one wanted to buy the company
  • His employees lacked the necessary resources to buy the business
  • Closing the company would leave his family in debt

In short, Rob faced a dilemma common to many business-owners facing retirement, especially Baby Boomers.


After several attempts and driven by his looming retirement Rob widened his research and discovered an overseas option uncommon in Australia; a 100% employee-owned and operated workers’ cooperative.  With the assistance of local academics and business advisors, Rob converted ownership of his family company to his employees.  Now one of 30 owners of the ex-family business, Rob works one day a week at something he loves.  His father’s legacy has been preserved, as have 40 jobs together with the attendant work skills.


Although Rob had no Australian precedents to guide him, he persevered, eventually transferring his business to his employees.  By engaging in a research-driven methodology that informed his decision-making process that is called “Participant Action Research” conducted by Dr. Anthony Jensen of Newcastle University.


Rob’s experience offers a tantalising glimpse into the attitudes of workers when offered the opportunity of owning their own enterprise, and provides an alternative model for other business owners contemplating retirement.


This book is about people who became entrepreneurs not by choice but by necessity as a way of preserving their livelihoods.  It is about how a company and jobs were preserved by a group of workers who had the initiative and determination to take over an enterprise when no one else was prepared to.  An organisation was transformed and industrial capacity preserved and reconstructed.  New ways of working have developed, challenging social and political ideas which are being re-evaluated.  It has shown how new networks and economic formations could emerge, and how men and women have surprised themselves by what they have become and have achieved.


Recognising what is needed for business succession


Implementing an Employee Share Ownership Plan


Justification for employee ownership

Employee-Owned Cooperative

Implementing an employee-owned cooperative

“This book is a great resource for those considering succession planning, wanting to learn how to transfer ownership to employees. This business model and lesson learnt are invaluable.”

Dr Anthony Jensen
University of Newcastle

Chapter Previews


Chapter 1 Family Roots

We treated C-Mac like a baby even before its gestation back in the early Sixties. However, the impending birth was more akin to a prolonged pregnancy. Before she was married my mother, Margaret played tennis at Strathfield with friends including members of the Kennard family. She asked her boyfriend, who was doing a sheet metal apprenticeship and would later become my father, if he would like some pocket money making roof racks........


Chapter 2 Party Time!

The 5th November 2016 represented a significant milestone in C-Mac’s history; we had reached our FIFTIETH birthday!

In the intervening years, the business had progressed from........


Chapter 3 Baby Boomer Retirement

One of the critical issues for Australian manufacturing is that we are moving into a significant demographic change where business owners, especially baby-boomers, are transitioning into retirement. Baby Boomers in 2019 were on average 69 years of age. Approx. 60% of all businesses are still being managed or owned by baby boomers. Many own small enterprises and want to exit their business to realise their assets for retirement...........

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Pricing Packages

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Digital version
$11.99 AUD
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Amazon Kindle version
$45.95 AUD
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Printed book (hardcover)

About the Author

Robert McMaster, qualified toolmaking tradesman, served 32 years as general manager of C-Mac Industries (Aust) Pty Ltd, transitioned the family business to all his employees by creating an employee-owned cooperative. Now retired and advocating for more employee-owned cooperatives. Rob has documented the succession process in his book “Swapping Desks - Pioneering Business Succession Via Employee Ownership.”   Reflecting the life values that drove his succession journey, Rob also volunteers as a Business Chaplain in the Hawkesbury (NSW) community and acts as welfare officer for the Hawkesbury Chamber of Commerce. 

This book is full of resources!

Learn from mistakes and successes, save time and effort, use the free information and come to understand the various types and benefits of employee ownership.
Rob McMaster - Author

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