Technology Insight

Paxton Founder Tony Ratcliffe Retires, Hands Reins to Son

Tony Ratcliffe, who founded Paxton 38 years ago, announced his retirement from the access control solutions manufacturer. 

Ratcliffe’s eldest son, Sholto Ratcliffe, is taking over his father’s long-standing role as non-executive group chairman of Paxton. The company will continue to be led by Paxton’s CEO Adam Stroud who has been with the manufacturer for over 25 years.

Ratcliffe, 73, a British inventor, has resided over the company’s growth from a small enterprise launching the TOUCHLOCK keypad in 1985, to a multimillion-dollar international business that now exports to over 60 countries worldwide and secures over 30,000 buildings annually.

 “With Paxton, I have achieved more than I ever thought I could,” he said. “This is simply because of the challenges and the learning I have gone through. I hope that every employee can do what I have done and follow that path, which is to be challenged, to learn, and to get there in the end.”

He continued, “The future for Paxton is so exciting, and with the new generation of people coming through, I think there are no limits for the company.”

Sholto Ratcliffe has been working alongside his father and Stroud for the past nine years in preparation for this transition. In addition to his role as non-executive group chairman of Paxton, Sholto runs his own recording studio in London, where he balances both the technical and business aspect of the studio.

“Sometimes when the founder of a successful company retires, its future becomes uncertain,” he said. “It may be sold, restructured or passed to multiple factions of shareholders. My job is to remove that uncertainty in the transition between generations and beyond, allowing the Paxton team to work safely in the knowledge that the company is not going to disappear.”

Stroud commented, “One of the major benefits of having secure, uncomplicated company ownership, is that we are always able to focus on making decisions for the best long-term outcome.”

Sholto added, “This means we can focus on the important things, like making world-class products.”

Over the past 12 months, the company said it has beaten all previous production records in their manufacturing facility based in Eastbourne, Sussex, U.K. This is due to a rise in customer demand and significant investment into new solutions, which are developed at the Paxton Technology Centre.

The Paxton Technology Centre is based next to its U.K. head offices, in Brighton Sussex. The company’s Brighton campus is currently going through an expansion as the company is refurbishing another building that they have recently acquired, the Paxton Electronics Centre. The new building has been acquired to accommodate an additional electronics manufacturing facility so Paxton can meet their expected growth over the next decade.

“The plans that we have for the Brighton campus are going to provide us with a world-class facility, and there will be much more beyond that. Paxton has a bright future and we are well positioned in a rapidly growing industry,” Sholto Ratcliffe said. 

The company’s U.S. headquarters is located in Greenville, S.C.

Adam highlighted Paxton’s aspiration to be one of the best employers in the sector. “We work hard to create a world-class infrastructure, providing our teams with all they need to do the best work of their lives.  There are many aspects to being a fantastic employer, and the expansion of our technology park takes us in the right direction,” he said.

Sholto added, “We are in an excellent place to take the next steps.”

Tony’s Next Chapter 

Tony and his wife, Thalia Ratcliffe, live in West Sussex and has a workshop where he undertakes various creative engineering projects. He considers himself a “natural inventor,” and will continue to create useful and innovative inventions.

When talking about his latest project, he explained: “Retirement for me is good because I’ve got a plan. I just love making things. I have a sort of Iron Man laboratory at home, where I can do 3D printing, write software, and circuit design. I just make stuff and I am as happy as I was when I was 7-years-old with my Meccano.”

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