Sustaining Employee Ownership for the Long Term: The Challenge of the Mature ESOP Company  - CLEO Skip to main content


The first ESOPs were established even before Congress enacted the formal authorizing law as part of ERISA in 1974. Following the passage of that legislation, the number of ESOP companies grew steadily. Today the count is approaching 12,000. While many of these ESOPs have been established only in the past few years, others have been in existence for 10, 20, even 30 years. These veteran ESOP companies have much to teach us about what it takes to sustain ESOP ownership over the long term.