Type of entity
Authorized form of name
Parallel form(s) of name
Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules
Other form(s) of name
Identifiers for corporate bodies
Dates of existence
The limited company of Rowntree and Co. was incorporated in March 1897. The assets of H.I. Rowntree and Co. (of which Joseph Rowntree was at that time the sole owner) were transferred to the new company. Papers concerning the valuation of the assets of H.I. Rowntree and Co and the formation of the limited company are listed under Rowntree/R/DH/SR/1-5.
To Joseph Rowntree, at the head of the company, personal contact with each of his employees and close supervision of every aspect of the business was a primary concern. However with the growth of the business a more formal structure became necessary. From the 1880s onwards the activities of the company became divided into several departments, connected with production or technical and administrative services. Following the creation of the limited company in 1897 the directors developed their own areas of responsibility; and T.H. Appleton, as Works Manger and later director, held a central role.
In 1923, when B.S. Rowntree took over as Chairman, Rowntree employees numbered nearly 7,000, including medical, welfare and pension staff and a large sales and distribution network. The company, increasing in size and complexity was outgrowing the existing management structure. Change had begun to take place, on an 'ad hoc' basis; a series of meetings to consider questions of labour supply in 1917 developed into the Directors' and Managers' Conference and Board committees had been set up to discuss wages and advertising and sales. A formal board committee system was established in 1920 [see Rowntree/R/B6], and several departments with strategic roles, such as Costing and Planning, were formed. Gradually, responsibility for accounting, administration of the workforce and planning etc, was transferred away from small units within production departments and concentrated in these strategic departments.
The growth of the business and Seebohm's interest in management pointed to the need for a formal structure for delegating, reporting, advising and communicating across the company. An Organisation Committee was formed, in 1922 reporting directly to the Chairman, to devise a new framework and oversee its implementation. The result was a 'divisional' structure developed by Oliver Sheldon (Organising Secretary) and the committee, within which the company operated until the 1960s.
In the new structure, departments were grouped into Functions which in turn formed Divisions, each one controlled by a Director. The five main divisions were Finance, Technical, Production, Labour and Distribution. (The Production and Labour Divisions did not have a 'Functional' level.) The Company Secretary, Solicitor, Registrar and Clerical, Business Research and Organisation Offices were later joined together within a Headquarters Division.
In 1931 the Board of Directors was turned into a General Board to perform the functions of a holding Board. A the same time the Articles of Association were altered so as to give power to create a York Board with responsibility for the York business. Members of the York board had the full powers of directors within the sphere of the York business. Most were Directors of the company and also served on the General Board, until the 1950s when membership of the York Board was extended to include managers. Non-executive responsibility for most subsidiary companies rested with the General Board, which was served by the York Headquarters staff. In theory the position of the York Board in relation to the General Board was therefore the same as the boards of associated companies, however in practice the York business was always dominant.
During the early late 1950s and 1960s more companies were acquired by Rowntree and production for the grocery market increased. Company growth and diversification again led to organisational change. In 1962 a 'divisional' structure was introduced above that of the parent and subsidiary companies bringing them under central management control. The new Divisions underwent several revisions during the succeeding two decades, but were based essentially on 'operating' or 'service' functions; each headed by a Divisional Board.
In 1969 Rowntree & Co merged with John Mackintosh & Sons to become Rowntree Mackintosh PLC.