“It just makes sense that the people who work for you—who’ve made you the success that you are—should be given the opportunity of ownership.”
Over the course of 25 years, Saul Rockman built Rockman et al from a small research consulting firm he ran out of his basement into a thriving company in the heart of San Francisco’s financial district.
By 2015, Saul was ready to retire. But when he started looking into his options—selling to an outside buyer or merging with another firm—he couldn’t find a partner that would give him a competitive price for his business and leave his legacy intact. Saul wanted to ensure that the valuable research that he and his team produced would continue after he left the business.
That’s when Saul discovered employee ownership. After reading an article about guiding small business owners through business transitions, Saul decided to explore the possibility of selling Rockman et al to his employees.
Within 16 months, the transition was complete—and successful for everyone involved.
Transitioning to EO allowed Saul to retire comfortably, knowing he had left his legacy in the hands of those who helped build it. And his former employees benefit as well.
“It’s been transformative for many people in the company,” said managing director and co-owner David Wilmore. “They have a new responsibility and have the investment in making sure this thing works for everybody.”
Taking a step back from the daily burden of ownership and focusing on guiding the new employee-owners to success has been a satisfying and rewarding change for Saul. Looking back on the process, he’s confident he made the right decision. “The goal was an exit strategy that works for everyone,” said Saul. “And we’ve succeeded.”