West Monroe Expands Employee Ownership Options
West Monroe, an IT solutions provider with roughly 1,500 employees, continues to expand employee ownership opportunities within the company.
Most recently West Monroe has has introduced the Capital & Profits Interest Program (CPIP). The program allows senior leaders to invest in the IT services company, in addition to participation West Monroe’s existing employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).
Under the recapitalization program, the firm’s directors – currently more than 120 leaders – have the opportunity to purchase additional equity in the company. The CPIP program extends beyond the performance-based equity incentives, West Monroe says.
Under the recapitalization program, the firm’s directors – currently more than 120 leaders – have the opportunity to purchase additional equity in the company –beyond the performance-based equity incentives – deepening their commitment to the firm’s long-term success.
According to West Monroe, the CPIP program:
- provides an incentive for directors and employees to build long-lasting careers with the company and fuel its growth.
- Creates a new source of funding for investing in future growth.
West Monroe: ESOP and CPIP Program Perspectives
In a prepared statement, Kevin McCarty, West Monroe’s chairman and CEO said:
“Our employee ownership principle is extremely important and motivating to our people and one of the things that truly differentiates our organization from most other consultancies. As part of our commitment to our core value of stewardship, we regularly look at ways to strengthen our capital structure and financial sustainability while retaining employee ownership. This is a win-win for our company and our people. It will attract top talent in a competitive market. It also reflects our mission to build the next generation of leaders by providing a mechanism for intergenerational transfer of equity to future directors as leaders depart or retire in the future.”
Added CFO Zach Jones,:
“Even amid the challenges of 2020, we registered positive growth for the year. This speaks to the quality of our work, which is a direct result of the talent we attract and the people who choose to build careers here. Our ownership model has a strong bearing on that. That said, we want to make sure we are positioned to sustain and support similar levels of continued growth for years to come. This latest enhancement builds on the strengths of our previous program and provides attractive benefits for employees at all levels.”
As part of the new capitalization effort, West Monroe leveraged advisers such as:
- Macquarie Capital for financial advising;
- Mayer Brown for legal advising;
- BDO for tax advising; and
- Polsinelli for ESOP counsel.
West Monroe, founded in 2002, restructured as an ESOP in 2012. Employees have benefitted from an ESOP share value that has grown at a 56% compound annual growth rate over seven years, the company says.
MSPs, IT Solutions Providers and ESOPs: Names to Know
Employee ownership plans vary greatly across the MSP and IT solutions provider markets. For instance, Modern Technology Solutions Inc. (MTSI) of Alexandria, Virginia, transitioned to a 100% employee owned ESOP in 2017. Similarly, Phacil, a midsize IT services provider, had an ESOP model as of 20217. And Teksouth of Gardendale, Alabama became an ESOP in 2017. Also, IT Solutions of Pennsylvania shifted to an ESOP model roughly a decade or so ago.
The average worker at a US company with an ESOP accumulated $134,000 in wealth from his or her stake, according to 2018 research from Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations.
Still, staff-level employee ownership across the IT solutions provider market seems to be mostly rare. “Buy in” opportunities for employees vary wildly. And most MSP owners these days seem to be focused on peer M&A deals or private equity engagements.