MAKING A DIFFERENCE: The founder of the Chobani yogurt empire, who started with nothing as an immigrant to the US, surprised his employees today by giving back to them in a very big way: “This community and this country has been so great to us, and I’d like to return that favor…”
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: The founder of the Chobani yogurt empire, who started with nothing as an immigrant to the US, surprised his employees today by giving back to them in a very big way: "This community and this country has been so great to us, and I'd like to return that favor…" — (tap the video for sounds from this report)
Geplaatst door NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt op dinsdag 26 april 2016
Lees hier de korte versie van het artikel uit de New York Times van Stephanie Strom op 26 april 2016:
At Chobani, Now It’s Not Just the Yogurt That’s Rich
NEW BERLIN, N.Y. — The 2,000 full-time employees of the yogurt company Chobani were handed quite the surprise on Tuesday: an ownership stake that could make some of them millionaires.
Hamdi Ulukaya, the Turkish immigrant who founded Chobani in 2005, told workers at the company’s plant here in upstate New York that he would be giving them shares worth up to 10 percent of the company when it goes public or is sold.
The goal, he said, is to pass along the wealth they have helped build in the decade since the company started. Chobani is now widely considered to be worth several billion dollars.
“I’ve built something I never thought would be such a success, but I cannot think of Chobani being built without all these people,” Mr. Ulukaya said in an interview in his Manhattan office that was granted on the condition that no details of the program would be disclosed before the announcement.
“Now they’ll be working to build the company even more and building their future at the same time,” he said.
Chobani employees received the news on Tuesday morning. Each worker received a white packet; inside was information about how many Chobani shares they were given. The number of shares given to each person is based on tenure, so the longer an employee has been at the company, the bigger the stake.
“It’s better than a bonus or a raise,” said Rich Lake, an employee at Chobani. “It’s the best thing because you’re getting a piece of this thing you helped build.”
The shares given to Chobani employees are coming directly from Mr. Ulukaya. The shares can be sold if the company goes public or is bought by another business, neither of which seems imminent. Employees can hang onto the shares if they leave or retire, or the company will buy them back.
This sort of transfer of shares to employees is rare in the food industry. In one of the few notable examples, Bob Moore, the founder of Bob’s Red Mill, a grains and cereals company, handed control of the company to its employees in 2010 with the creation of an employee stock ownership program.
Technology start-ups often pay employees partly in shares to help recruit them or to compete in a company’s early days for in-demand workers. Early employees of Google and Facebook became overnight multimillionaires thanks to such compensation.
But unlike many of those tech companies, Mr. Ulukaya is giving his employees a piece of the company after its value is firmly established.
“It’s very uncommon and rare, especially in this industry, for these kinds of programs to be rolled out,” said Jessica Kennedy, a principal at Mercer, the large human resources consulting firm that worked with Chobani on the new program.
Chobani pays employees above the minimum wage and offers full-time employees health benefits and other benefits. Early on, Mr. Ulukaya established a 401(k) plan for employees and pushed them to participate.
“I preached and nagged and tried to force them to do it,” he said. “Unfortunately, not all did, and I’ve continued to worry about them in retirement.”
“To me, there are two kinds of people in this world,” he said on Tuesday. “The people who work at Chobani and the people who don’t.”
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