Monday, October 17, 2016


Chobani  is the top-selling brand of yogurt in the United States.
Chobani’s CEO and founder, Hamdi Ulukaya (a Kurdish-Muslim immigrant), recently personally transferred 10% ownership in the growing company from himself to his 2,000 employees.
Given that Chobani is estimated to be worth $3 billion (some peg it as high as $7 billion), that works out to an average stock value of $150,000 per employee. And some of the more tenured employees could end up with windfalls of $1M+.
“I’ve built something I never thought would be such a success, but I cannot think of Chobani being built without all these people,” Mr. Ulukaya said in an interview in his Manhattan office that was granted on the condition that no details of the program would be disclosed before the announcement.
“Now they’ll be working to build the company even more and building their future at the same time,” he said.
Chobani employees received the news on Tuesday morning. Each worker received a white packet; inside was information about how many Chobani shares they were given. The number of shares given to each person is based on tenure, so the longer an employee has been at the company, the bigger the stake.
Two years ago, when Chobani received a loan from TPG Capital, a private equity firm, the company’s value was estimated at $3 billion to $5 billion. At the $3 billion valuation, the average employee payout would be $150,000. The earliest employees, though, will most likely be given many more shares, possibly worth over $1 million.
Chobani, which began in 2005 with just five employees, now employs 1,200 people in New York state alone. The company was founded in 2005 when Hamdi Ulukaya bought a plant in the town of New Berlin, New York, that was being closed by Kraft Foods.
The word chobani is derived from the Persian loanword in Turkish, çoban, meaning "shepherd". 

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