Barkley Evergreen completes ESOP

KANSAS CITY, MO: Integrated marketing firm Barkley Evergreen & Partners has completed its conversion to employee ownership.

KANSAS CITY, MO: Integrated marketing firm Barkley Evergreen & Partners has completed its conversion to employee ownership.

KANSAS CITY, MO: Integrated marketing firm Barkley Evergreen & Partners has completed its conversion to employee ownership.

The move was designed to help attract and retain key talent, said Mike Swenson, president of PR for the firm.

The advertising portion of Barkley Evergreen began in 1964 and its PR arm started in 1987. In 1997, founder Bill Fromm decided to establish an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) to buy his interest in the firm.

By the end of 1997, 45% of the firm had been transferred to the new ESOP.

The remaining 55% was transferred January 4, giving complete ownership of the firm to its 250 employees. Fromm will continue to be involved as chairman of the board of directors, an advisory position, Swenson said.

Barkley Evergreen had capitalized billings of more than dollars 280 million, with actual PR income of dollars 2.3 million in 2000. The firm expects to increase PR revenues to dollars 2.8 million in 2001.

In recent years, PR firms in other Midwest markets, such as Chicago and Cleveland, have taken the ESOP route to fend off takeovers and to give employees added incentive to stay.



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