Today, during Luckett & Farley’s regularly-scheduled monthly Staff Meeting, the firm’s President and CEO, Ed Jerdonek, made the announcement to the packed meeting room which included the consultants who assisted Jerdonek and the firm’s two other Principals, Gail Miller and Rob Diamond, in advising the firm. Planning for the ESOP transition has been in motion since early 2011.
The transaction is funded internally without the use of any external debt capital.
Luckett & Farley originally started its ESOP in January 2000 when the previous owners of the firm each sold equal shares of their stock to total just over 26% of the Company’s equity. Over the years, the ESOP has continued to grow as a result of employee retirements and redemptions to a high of just over 61% of the Company’s total equity. As a result, the ESOP became the largest shareholder at Luckett & Farley.
According to Jerdonek, moving to a 100 percent employee-owned Company is “a logical extension of Luckett & Farley’s commitment to being the best employer in the region”. Since Jerdonek, Diamond and Miller assumed the leadership of the firm some seven years ago, the Company has remained focused on creating the best environment, culture and reward structure in the business. Jerdonek adds, “by providing a way for Luckett & Farley’s employee-owners to create real wealth for themselves and their families, we’re confident that all of our folks will continue to provide the best service and technical solutions to our clients, ensuring the continued long term success of what is now their Company, too”. Taking Jerdonek’s remarks further, the Company’s COO, Rob Diamond explained that, “we’ve succeeded in creating a culture of ownership here and it’s demonstrated throughout the Company on a daily basis in the way our employee-owners interact with our clients and each other”.
Working closely with ESOP experts from local accounting firm, Harding & Shymanski, representatives from Prairie Capital Advisors, and an independent ESOP Trustee, Luckett & Farley’s jump to becoming a 100 percent ESOP Company actually became official on January 1, 2012, even though the announcement is being made today. This allows the Company to take full advantage of the ESOP tax benefits beginning immediately.