BDO USA becomes first large public accounting firm to have employee stock ownership plan
Chicago-based BDO USA, which operates suburban offices in Rosemont and Oak Brook, has become the first large public accounting firm in the nation to establish an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) -- making it one of the largest companies to do so.
The transition was made under the guidance of Stout, a global investment bank and advisory firm also based in Chicago.
"BDO's ESOP is a game-changer for our people, firm and profession," BDO USA CEO Wayne Berson said in a statement. "It is the realization of our purpose of helping people thrive, every day. It is also the natural evolution of our business, allowing us to pursue continued investment opportunities in quality, operations, and growth strategies while maintaining continuity in leadership and commitment to a long-standing vision and purpose. We are thrilled to begin our next chapter as an ESOP, taking our people-first culture to a new level of engagement and commitment."
Stout provides investment banking services for private companies that want to establish an ESOP, and has undertaken this service more than 2,000 times, company representatives said.
Stephen Ferrara, BDO USA chief operating officer, explained the role Stout played for his own firm's ESOP in a statement.
"Stout's strategic guidance and knowledge were instrumental in creating an ESOP structure that would allow our people and firm to thrive," he said. "Stout deftly helped us navigate the intricacies of this complex transaction, allowing us to bring broad-based beneficial ownership to all eligible U.S. employees and enabling a material benefit to the firm."
Even with all Stout's previous experience, its head of ESOP Investment Banking practice -- Mark Buchanan -- said the work for BDO USA broke new ground for others in that industry to follow.
"BDO is an innovative and forward-thinking organization, and this transaction serves as a blueprint for ESOP formations in the accounting and professional services sector going forward," he added.