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The Employee Ownership Update

Loren Rodgers

January 15, 2016

(Loren Rodgers)

IRS Reaffirms Phase-Out of Determination Letters

IRS Notice 2016-03 confirms that "expiration dates on determination letters issued prior to January 4, 2016 are no longer operative." More on this will be in the forthcoming newsletter and at the NCEO's annual conference.

Call for Input: Please Complete a Brief Survey on Determination Letters

The Employee Plans subgroup of the IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT) is conducting its 2015/2016 project on the IRS's decision to eliminate most determination letters for individually designed plans. As part of the project, the ACT has prepared a short, confidential online survey to solicit retirement practitioner/service provider and plan sponsor feedback on the elimination and to determine the choices plan sponsors are likely to make and how the IRS can minimize the impact of the change.

Respondents should complete the survey by February 1. The survey does not require that respondents identify themselves, and all responses go directly to the ACT members, and not to the IRS. Click here to take the survey.

New York City Worker Cooperative Initiative: Report on Year One

New York City passed Local Law 22 of 2015, which allocated $1.2 million to support the development of worker cooperatives within the city. Its first-year report shows that the initiative created 21 new worker cooperatives, helped 141 people become worker-owners, provided services to 24 already existing cooperatives, and reached 938 entrepreneurs with information about worker cooperatives.

Prominent ESOP Companies Announce New CEOs

Todd Jones, who began his career at Publix Supermarkets 36 years ago as a store clerk, will become the company's CEO in April. Publix has consistently been ranked #1 on the NCEO list of majority employee-owned companies. Jones will be the first CEO of Publix who is not a member of the company's founding family. Elsewhere on the list, #23 Burns & McDonnell Engineering announced that Ray Kowalik would be its new CEO. Current CEO Greg Graves called Kowalik "a fierce promoter of our employee-owned culture." Baird, #52, also has a new CEO, Steve Booth. Booth says "Being privately held and associate-owned is our single most important competitive advantage because it enables us to make long-term decisions and investments to serve our clients and to create a great workplace."

2016 UPenn Program for ESOP Company Executives

The Center for Organizational Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania will host a program for CEOs of ESOP companies, covering topics such as the challenges and opportunities unique to leading an ESOP company, practical ideas to promote employee engagement, implications of recent research, and strategies for building a high-performance ownership culture. The two sessions will be July 10 to 15 and December 4 to 7, 2016, at the University of Pennsylvania. More about the program is available online.

NCEO Board Elections Close January 29

Members in good standing of the NCEO should have received their ballots for the 2016 elections for the NCEO's board of directors by email on January 4. If you were expecting a ballot and did not receive one, please check your spam filter and then contact Loren Rodgers ( Balloting ends on January 29.


NCEO members recently received the January-February 2016 newsletter. The cover story on current trends in ESOPs incorrectly stated the value of plan assets. Total plan assets as of the end of 2013 are $1.2 trillion, not $1.2 billion. We apologize for the error, which has been corrected in the online version of the newsletter (username and password required).

Author biography and other columns in this series

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