A Parting Gift to Remember

February 1st, 2013 by JBWK

When Minnesota grocer Joe Lueken wanted to retire at the end of 2012, he apparently had no trouble finding a succession plan: give away the company to the employees. For free.

Leuken, who ran a local grocery store, created an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP. Typically, employees have to contribute money to an ESOP to own shares in the company. But Leuken opted for the road less traveled: he didn’t ask the employees to pay for them, effectively giving his 400 employees the company for free.

His reasoning?

My employees are largely responsible for any success I’ve had, and they deserve to get some of the benefits of that. You can’t always take. You also have to give back.

There’s no word on what Leuken has planned after retirement.

 

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