Taylor Guitars Moves To An Employee-Owned Business Model

Guitarists who own a Taylor Guitar can attest to the care and dedication the company puts into each guitar, as well as their commitment to sustainable wood efforts. Now, the San Diego-based company announces a new change in their business model with a transition to 100% employee ownership through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (“ESOP”).

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For the consumer, not much will change. Taylor Guitars remains committed to serving its customers, suppliers, and broader community with the same passion and innovation it has before, with no change in its daily business. Bob Taylor, Kurt Listug, Andy Powers and other members of Taylor’s leadership team remain committed to the company. There will be no changes to management structure, operations policies, or practices.

Taylor Guitars employees (photo courtesy Taylor Guitars)

“We have delighted in giving people the joy of music and hope to do so for generations to come,” said Bob Taylor, co-founder and President of Taylor Guitars. “Becoming 100% ESOP allows us to ensure our independence for the long-term future and continue to realize our vision for the company as an innovative guitar manufacturer.”

Kurt Listug, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, added, “While Bob and I are not retiring, we have been preparing for our eventual exit. Master guitar designer Andy Powers is not only the wellspring of our guitar designs for the future, but he also joined our leadership team several years ago, and strengthening our leadership team has been essential to our succession planning.”

Listug views the transition in ownership as the next step to ensure a sustainable future for the company, while also providing a valuable financial benefit to people who have contributed to its success. “We believe we’ve created a special company, where passionate people can engage in problem-solving innovation, collaboration and respect,” he said. “Securing our independence through an ESOP allows us to strengthen this culture.” 

An ESOP is a type of tax-qualified defined contribution plan through which employees receive a retirement benefit linked to Taylor Guitars’ future equity value. Employees at Taylor’s production facility in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico, will participate in its US-based ESOP plan, and European Union employees will be participants in a similar incentive plan available under EU regulations.

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