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Private label consultancy Daymon Worldwide yesterday was named one of the top employee-owned companies (ESOP) in the United States by the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), coming in ninth out of 100 companies selected.
The Daymon ESOP, which dates to 2001, started with a vision shared by founders Milt Sender and the late Peter Schwartz, who agreed early on that no outsider would own shares of Daymon stock. Rather, their vision and their promise were for Daymon to be run on behalf of those who have built it and maintained it. Following Schwartz’s death in 1994, Sender became the sole owner. His current estate plan provides for the company to remain under the control of its leaders.
“Milt thought this was a wonderful way to transfer his controlling interest to the associates who built the company,” explains Gina Long, retirement plans administrator and a 15-year-veteran of the Stamford, Conn.-based company, who’s been involved with the ESOP from its beginnings. “It’s his way of rewarding the company.” Daymon funds the plan.
According to Brian Benson, CFO and treasurer of Daymon, most ESOP trusts have to borrow money to buy shares from the selling stockholder. Daymon has always avoided taking on any long-term debt, and feels that the same should hold true for the ESOP. “In Daymon’s case we are very lucky that the company gives, rather than sells, shares to the ESOP,” said Long. “This reduces the overall risk for the plan participants.”
The NCEO is a private, nonprofit membership and research organization based in Oakland, Calif. A complete list of the top employee-owned companies is available at www.nceo.org/library/eo100.html.