Hypertherm, a U.S. based manufacturer of plasma, laser and waterjet cutting systems, has announced the transfer of all its common stock into an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), making the company 100 percent employee owned under an S-Corporation structure.
Previously, Hypertherm’s ESOP, known internally as the Hypertherm Stock Ownership Plan or HSOP, held approximately one-third of the company’s stock. Controlling shareholders Dick and Barbara Couch created the plan in 2001, followed by a Global Stock Value Program (GSVP) for international associates in 2004.
With the redemption and purchase of all remaining shares into the HSOP, Dick and Barbara Couch seek to ensure the continuation of Hypertherm as an independent company living its core values and pursuing the long-term interests of its customers, associates and communities. Hypertherm’s “associate-owners,” already known for their customer focus, will be even more committed to providing the world’s leading industrial cutting solutions and to building long-term customer relationships founded on technology and service leadership.
“The well-being of our associates and shared rewards have been cultural cornerstones of Hypertherm since our founding in 1968,” said Dick Couch, founder and chief executive officer. “Having the HSOP and GSVP own 100 percent of the company’s stock is a natural extension and completion of the journey we began in 2001.”
“We have witnessed the amazing power of associate ownership since we launched the HSOP and GSVP,” added Barbara Couch, Hypertherm’s vice president of corporate social responsibility. “We are delighted to transition ownership to our associates, who are best positioned to ensure that Hypertherm builds upon our strong culture, passion for technology and customer service, and commitment to our communities.”
Hypertherm is not planning any changes to its management structure. Dick Couch will remain chairman of the board of directors, chief executive officer, and trustee of the HSOP. Barbara Couch will remain a member of the board, vice president of corporate social responsibility, and president of the Hypertherm HOPE Foundation, a philanthropic 501(c)(3).