Patagonia announced new ownership today, nearly 50 years since Yvon Chouinard founded the business.
Effective immediately, the Chouinard family has transferred ownership to two new entities—Patagonia Purpose Trust and the Holdfast Collective, with every dollar that is “not reinvested back into Patagonia be distributed as dividends to protect the planet.”
The Patagonia Purpose Trust now owns all the company’s voting stock (two percent of the total stock) and exists to create a more permanent legal structure for “Patagonia’s purpose and values. It will help ensure that there is never deviation from the founder’s intent and facilitate what the company continues to do best—a for-profit business where capitalism can work for the planet.”
The Holdfast Collective owns all of the nonvoting stock (98 percent of the total stock), and will use the money received from Patagonia to “protect nature and biodiversity, support thriving communities and fight the environmental crisis.” Each year, profits that are not reinvested back into the business will be distributed by Patagonia as a dividend to the Holdfast Collective to help fight climate change. The company projects that it will pay out an annual dividend of roughly $100 million, depending on the business’s health.
Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia founder, former owner and current board member said:
“It’s been a half-century since we began our experiment in responsible business. If we have any hope of a thriving planet 50 years from now, it demands all of us doing all we can with the resources we have. As the business leader I never wanted to be, I am doing my part. Instead of extracting value from nature and transforming it into wealth, we are using the wealth Patagonia creates to protect the source. We’re making Earth our only shareholder. I am dead serious about saving this planet.”
Patagonia will remain a B Corp and continue giving one percent of sales yearly to grassroots activists. The leadership of the company does not change. Ryan Gellert will continue as CEO and the Chouinard family will continue to sit on Patagonia’s board, along with Kris Tompkins, Dan Emmett, Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Charles Conn (Board chair), and Ryan Gellert. The Chouinard family will also guide the company’s controlling shareholder, the Patagonia Purpose Trust, electing and overseeing Patagonia’s board of directors. It will also guide the philanthropic work of the Holdfast Collective. Acting together, Patagonia’s board and the Patagonia Purpose Trust will work for the company’s continued success over the long term while ensuring it stays true to its purpose and values.
Ryan Gellert, CEO of Patagonia and Patagonia board member said: “Two years ago, the Chouinard family challenged a few of us to develop a new structure with two central goals. They wanted us to both protect the purpose of the business and immediately and perpetually release more funding to fight the environmental crisis. We believe this new structure delivers on both and we hope it will inspire a new way of doing business that puts people and planet first.”
The company shared the news with its employees in a global town hall meeting on September 14 followed by its website Patagonia.com.
Photo courtesy Patagonia