An ownership shift at CHI Overhead Doors
A brief exploration of employee ownership at CHI Overhead Doors
This article touches on CHI Overhead Doors and its transition to employee ownership plan. CHI Overhead Doors mainly produces steel that has been rolled, assembles door fronts and backs, fills some with polystyrene or polyurethane, puts in glass panels or wood decorations, and prepares panels and door hardware for shipment. KKR, a private equity firm, bought CHI in 2015 from FFL Partners for 685 million dollars. In 2022, KKR then sold the company to Nucor Corp for $3 billion.
When KKR bought the company in 2015, it allowed 800 workers to participate in the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Employees earning more than 100,00 per year were also allowed to invest personal money into the stock plan. Additionally, employees were also given a voice in how day-to-day operations ran and were allowed to provide input on health and safety procedures, resulting in a 50 percent decrease in both the rate and severity of injuries. Pete Stavros, head of private equity at KKR also helped launch Ownership Works, a non-profit dedicated to providing employees the opportunity to build wealth at work. Although the acquisition by KKR and resulting employee ownership seem like a success story, there are CEOs such as Jim Bonham and Ian D. MacFarlane who question whether or not private equity is viable for long-term success. They have concerns about the involvement of private equity in the Ownership Works project, and whether that involvement compromises the project’s integrity. Gibson Guitars serves as a somewhat cautionary tale. In an article written by Fast Company, the outlet details how after being taken over by KKR in 2018, Gibson Guitars found itself in debt and with significant profit-sharing disparities. And this skepticism is not new — last year, Minseo Kim, an EOWD contributor, covered some of the concerns surrounding Ownership Works. You can read her article here.
To learn more click below: