If there is one thing to know about the field of employee ownership it's that it includes a wide variety of models. In the US, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and worker cooperatives are the two most well known, but there are many others. In this episode we sit down with Chris Michael, an attorney and professor, to discuss a less known model - the employee ownership trust. We dig into the history of the model, talk about its similarities and differences to ESOPs and worker cooperatives, and cover why selling business owners may want to consider it.
Chris is an attorney who assists in the formation of employee owned firms using the perpetual purpose trust as a new legal mechanism for employee ownership in the United States. He has published articles introducing the concept in leading peer-reviewed law journals, including Tax Notes and Probate & Property, and is currently a professor at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, where he teaches courses in U.S. labor history and employment law. He is also a senior fellow at the Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing. Formerly, he was the director of employee ownership at the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation, the primary economic development agency for the city of Newark, NJ. He also served as general counsel and policy director at the oldest U.S. nonprofit dedicated to employee ownership. Chris received his BA from Columbia University and earned his JD and PhD at the City University of New York with a dissertation on the history of employee-owned businesses in the United States.
The Owners at Work Podcast is a continuation of the biannual Owners at Work Newsletter which ran for 19 years (1990-2019). We are hoping to continue the same conversations and focus on providing updates on everything employee ownership. We plan to interview practitioners with expertise in different facets of employee ownership, academics doing new and interesting research, and most importantly, individuals who have a personal experience with employee ownership, including current and former employee-owners, mid-level to C suite management, and selling owners.
We want to produce a show that engages with relevant questions and provides practical lessons and information. We want this podcast to include the voices of those who practice employee-ownership each and every day. To that end we want to hear from you! We want to highlight what you are doing, whether you are an employee-owned company, a practitioner, or researcher.
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