CLEVELAND — Specialty chemical distributor Palmer Holland converted to a privately held Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) with an ownership team made entirely of employees.

While Palmer Holland was a private company prior to the transition, this move solidified the organization's goal to remain an independent specialty chemical and ingredient distributor for the long term. While others in the sector have sold to multinational, publicly traded companies or reorganized, Palmer Holland has doubled down on the model, its people and its independence.

An ESOP, similar to a profit-sharing plan, lets a company set up a trust fund and contribute new shares of its stock as a retirement benefit to employees. This change will make Palmer Holland more independent and even more dependable in order to further live up to its commitment to customer excellence and unique commercial offerings to global chemical manufacturers.

“The conversion to an ESOP allows Palmer Holland to benefit employees and principals, live up to our core values in excellence, and evolve and grow,” said Bryn Irvine, CEO. “It has always been our goal to remain independent even in this climate where others are selling. Our ESOP allows us to retain our culture and unparalleled way of doing business.”

The move to an ESOP will not change day-to-day function and visibility in relationships with current customers or principals. This is not a new management or organizational structure; the only change is that its partners now get to connect with owners at every interaction.

The ESOP structure also provides another tool in recruiting and retaining top talent and adds a significant component to the employee benefit plan.