Los Angeles-based integrated marketing agency Phelps announced the final transfer of ownership to its associates through the company’s employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). Phelps is the largest ESOP-owned marketing communications company in California.
Joe Phelps, CEO, and three senior members of the agency recently sold their remaining 57 percent of the common stock to the company’s ESOP. Of its 85 associates, Phelps has 26 shareholders of a minority class and 41 females who are now stockholders. According to Phelps, this is a higher number of minority-classed stockholders than any other independent agency in California.
“Our model of self-directed, client-facing teams supporting each other from a full-feedback environment is the perfect setting to have all associates participating in ownership. Everyone is incentivized to deliver great client service, which is the basis for growth,” explained Phelps. “This is a natural evolution for our agency. Since 1998 we have allocated part of the annual profits to the ESOP. This allows all Phelps’ associates to share in the rewards for the good work we do for our clients.”
Ed Chambliss, president, added, “We’re organized differently than most marketing agencies. We encourage entrepreneurial thinking and allow more freedom in a variety of ways. Focus is placed on our clients’ needs and less on internal politics. As ESOP owners, our teams are aligned toward the best interests of clients and our agency.”
Ranking high as one of LA’s Best Places to Work for the past eight years, Chambliss believes this will help Phelps attract and retain the highest quality talent and foster morale.