CEO of Chobani Ensures Employees Will Share in Success of Company

Chobani Greek yogurt has been said to be rich in protein and flavor and now some of its employees could become rich.

CEO and founder of Chobani Hamdi Ulukaya has announced that he was giving all 2,000 of his full time workers awards which could be worth as much as 10% of the future value of the privately held business if it were to go public or if sold.

Each of the employees will receive Chobani shares equal to award units that are based upon the tenure of the worker and the role they have at the company. The award units can be converted to shares or cash if an initial public offering were to take place or the company was sold.

The awards’ values are dependent upon the performance of the company, but there is the potential they could be worth nothing if the yogurt makers does not meet it metrics on performance.

A nationwide newspaper said that if the yogurt maker has a $3 billion value, the average payout for an employee could be about $150,000 and some employees who are long-tenured could see possible windfalls that are worth over $1 million. A spokesperson for Chobani would not confirm any of the above amounts.

Ulukaya is a Turkish immigrant and pledged to give half of his wealth away and advocated for leaders in business to hire more refugees, announced this news to his workers last week.

The award is not gifted, it is a mutual promise to work with one another with a share responsibility and purpose wrote the CEO in a special memo to all his employees.

An industry insider has called the move by Chobani atypical. He said that it is unusual to see something like that in the food services as well as manufacturing industry.

It is common amongst tech industry startups, but it is rare seeing founders offering employees awards like that at this stage of its growth.

In 2005, Chobani was founded and has rapidly grown. After it struggled with managing expansion of its plant, and a recall in 2013, it reached sales in 2015 of over $1.6 billion.

Some companies share stock grants of recent beyond just the executive suite, like Apple for example said last October it would award some restricted stock or shares that vest typically over time, not only to engineers and executives but to it workers who are paid by the hour.

Some CEOs recently have given away personal stakes as well, such as Jack Dorsey the CEO at Twitter.