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September 27: Billionaire No More: Patagonia Founder Gives Away the Company
The founder of Patagonia has given away the $3B company. All future profits will be used for environmental causes.
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Published: September 2022
Billionaire No More: Patagonia Founder Gives Away the Company
“This is truly amazing. This guy is my hero.”
- Miguel Roque, Bezos Academy COO & ex-Amazon Director
Patagonia is an outdoor clothing and gear company valued at about $3 billion.
What? Rather than selling the company or taking it public, the owners of Patagonia gave away the company to a specially designed trust and nonprofit organization. Each year, the money Patagonia makes after reinvesting in the business—currently around $100M—will be donated to organizations focused on helping fight Earth’s environmental crisis.
Who? The founder, Yvon Chouinard, his wife, and two adult children.
Why? To combat climate change and protect undeveloped land around the globe. Patagonia’s purpose is “We’re in business to save our home planet.”
“If we have any hope of a thriving planet—much less a business—it is going to take all of us doing what we can with the resources we have. This is what we can do.” - Yvon Chouinard, Founder of Patagonia
“I was in Forbes magazine listed as a billionaire, which really, really pissed me off,” he said. “I don’t have $1 billion in the bank. I don’t drive Lexuses.” - Yvon Chouinard, Founder of Patagonia
“The Chouinard children didn’t want to inherit the company. They really embody this notion that every billionaire is a policy failure.” - Ryan Gellert, CEO of Patagonia
How? Here’s how the new ownership structure works:
All the voting stock (2% of total) is transferred to Patagonia Purpose Trust, a specially designed trust overseen by the family to protect the company’s values.
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