To its employees.
As noted in the Boise Dev story, the company converted to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) structure, according to former majority owner and CEO Jamie Cooper. That means about 50 of the company’s current employees now make up the ownership of the company.
There are 42 privately-held ESOP companies in Idaho, and only a handful that are 100% employee owned. Perhaps the most well known locally and regionally is the nation’s third-largest — WinCo Foods — with 20,000 employee-owners. Drake Cooper now joins approximately 3% of marketing and advertising firms nationwide that are employee owned.
In becoming an ESOP, Drake Cooper preserves local ownership and its independent advertising agency status. The agency’s management team and Cooper’s role as CEO will remain the same through 2022. During that time, they will focus on building a stronger board of directors with advertising industry expertise, and creating a new role for a GM/President to help guide Drake Cooper and its employee-owners into the future.