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Chobani CEO gives 10% ownership stake to 2,000 employees

Mary Ellen Shoup

By Mary Ellen Shoup+

29-Apr-2016
Last updated on 03-May-2016 at 10:31 GMT2016-05-03T10:31:28Z

Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya announces that he will share 10% of future growth with all employees
Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya announces that he will share 10% of future growth with all employees

Chobani Founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya rewarded 2,000 Chobani employees with 10% of the company’s shares, he announced in person at one of Chobani’s factories in New Berlin, New York.

The Greek yogurt company had humble beginnings just ten years ago when it started production in an old Kraft yogurt manufacturing plant, but now has an estimated worth of $3bn.

Ulukaya said he would transfer up to 10% of shares if the company is sold or goes public, which means employees could take home an average of $150,000, and those at the company with longer tenures potentially receiving over $1m.

Humanitarianism

Humanitarianism

Ulukaya has a history of sharing his wealth with others. In 2015, he signed the Giving Pledge committing to donate the majority of his personal wealth to others, starting first with refugees.

Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya continues pledge of sharing wealth with others.

Ulukaya donated $700m to Kurdish and other refugees and hired 600 refugees to work for Chobani in the US. Chobani also donates 10% of its proceeds to the Chobani Foundation, an organization that donates to several charities.

Ulukaya stressed that the motivation behind the program is to pass along the wealth that he and Chobani workers have built together. In an employee memo obtained by DairyReporter, Ulukaya wrote, "For us, it's always been about giving back -- making our communities stronger, giving people opportunity and access."

The "Chobani Shares" will be given to every full-time Chobani employee and are designed as an incentive reward to continue to drive the Greek yogurt company forward. 

“This isn’t a gift. It’s a mutual promise to work together with a shared purpose and responsibility, to continue to create something special and of lasting value.”

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