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KI, a global office furniture manufacturer based in Green Bay, has been sold to its more than 2,000 employees worldwide, turning it into one of the largest companies in the U.S. operating under an employee stock ownership plan.

KI said in a press release Wednesday that it completed the transition to an ESOP on April 27, which shifts the ownership stake of CEO Dick Resch and his family to employees, who will also receive the additional stock as part of their compensation going forward.

Prior to the transition to full employee ownership, the company was primarily owned by members of the Resch family and the KI ESOP. The company said the ESOP represents a stable ownership structure that will enable the company's growth over the long term.

"This change marks the culmination of my lifelong dream to transform KI into an independent, privately held, employee-owned enterprise," said Resch. "It's a pivotal moment in our company's history -- and paves the way for future generations of KI employees to share in the company's growth and success."

KI said the transition makes it one of the 50 largest ESOPs in the United States.

KI manufactures furniture and movable wall system solutions for education, health care, government and corporate markets. It operates sales offices and manufacturing facilities in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia. KI had sales of about $650 million in 2017, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Resch recently pledged $5 million for a new engineering school at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. The school will be named the Richard J. Resch School of Engineering.


As seen in the Milwaukee Business Journal and written by David Schuyler.