Employees of Greek yogurt maker Chobani are getting an unexpected windfall: an ownership stake in the company that could make millionaires of some.
Hamdi Ulukaya told the company’s 2,000 full-time employees at its upstate New York plant Tuesday they’ll receive shares worth up to 10% of the company’s value when it goes public or is sold.
“This isn’t a gift,” Ulukaya said in a letter to employees obtained by USA TODAY. “It’s a mutual promise to work together with a shared purpose and responsibility. To continue to create something special and of lasting value.”
On Tuesday morning, every employee received a white packet detailing how many shares they were given based on tenure. Longer-serving employees got more shares.
The average award is estimated to be worth tens of thousands of dollars but for some workers could be valued at more than $1 million.
“How we built this company matters to me, but how we grow it matters even more,” Ulukaya said in the letter.
“I want you not only to be a part of this growth—I want you to be the driving force of it. To share in our success, to be rewarded by it.”