The Power of Firm Ownership

Our meeting on Wednesday 26 June 2024 had a virtual speaker – Pete Stavros who had given a talk on the Secret Ingredient for Business Success at TED Talks Vancouver in April 2024.

Before the talk we heard about visits to other Clubs, mostly in East Anglia, and there was a discussion about the Kenton Street Market, a visit to Zippo’s Circus by a local school, the plans for planting crocus corms this autumn, and some potential speakers to the Club.

It was then time for the TED Talk given by Pete Stavros.  He had been working for an investment company, and was given the task of advising CEOs and CFOs of the money they made when their business was sold as a going concern, and making sure the money arrived safely.  His story centred on an Overhead Garage Door Company located in Amish Country in Illinois.  His task with the company was to improve the return on investment for the shareholders, including his own investment company employer.

Pete had made a study of shared ownership corporations whilst a student, and the garage door company represented an opportunity to try out the idea.  Much of the ground had already been paved elsewhere, including in the John Lewis Partnership in the UK, so there was an agreed plan to share the ownership of the company with the employees.

After 8 years of the project, the business had grown tenfold – a staggering achievement.  The business was sold as a going concern at the end of the project ensuring that no one had to lose their job, but with the gain in value being shared out to the employees according to length of service and other parameters.

Pete has now set up his own organisation to promote Employee Stock Ownership Plans, and he told a convincing story – backed up by the employees themselves – that held the interest of many members.  But he never explained what happened to the two chickens!

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