Hobby Lobby CEO explains how he decided to give away his company

Hobby Lobby’s conservative Christian values have frequently made it the target of leftists who ardently oppose much of what the company stands for. Now, after founder and CEO David Green explained who he had given away ownership of his company to, it couldn’t be clearer what progressives are standing against.

Writing for Fox News, Green penned an op-ed Friday titled “My decision to give away ownership of Hobby Lobby: I chose God,” wherein the 80-year-old businessman drew the distinction between “owners” and “stewards.” Drawing off the decision of Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard to give away ownership of his company in September and in promotion of his new book, “Leadership Not by the Book: 12 Unconventional Principles to Drive Incredible Results,” Green detailed how for years, “God as the true owner of my business.”

“As I considered my path,” the founder wrote, “I realized that all of my success had come from God. My wife, Barbara, and I had started this business with a $600 loan and I don’t think anyone would have bet on us to become successful.”

Chouinard had announced the decision to turn over Patagonia, valued at $3 billion, to a trust and nonprofit organization in part to ensure that moving forward their annual approximately $100 million in profits would be used to fight climate change.

“As an owner, there are certain rights and responsibilities, including the right to sell the company and keep the profits for yourself and your family,” Green said. “As our company grew, that idea began to bother me more and more. Well-meaning attorneys and accountants advised me to simply pass ownership down to my children and grandchildren.”

“It didn’t seem fair to me that I might change or even ruin the future of grandchildren who had not even been born yet,” he lamented.

However, since “from the very beginning our purpose was to honor God in all that we did,” said Green who came to terms with the realization that he was not the owner of his company after his pride had nearly lost him his business in the 1980s.

“God had to show me that He was the one who granted success,” the CEO expressed.

“That bigger mission and purpose helped me realize that I was just a steward, a manager of what God had entrusted me. God was the true owner of my business,” he later added before encouraging other CEOs and business leaders to “consider whether they are owners or stewards.”

“Consider the idea of where your success comes from. I’ve seen many a business with the greatest of ideas not make it, and yet others with the simplest of ideas thrive,” Green stated. “I believe that God is the one who grants success, and with it the responsibility to be a good manager.”

This is how he justified his company’s use of profits to pay a minimum wage of $18.50 an hour while also closing before 8 p.m. each day and remaining closed on Sundays despite it once being their most profitable business day. “I wasn’t supposed to take the profits of the business and use them for myself.”

“It gives me a bigger purpose than just making money,” Green offered. “Like Chouinard said, ‘Instead of “going public,” you could say we’re ‘going purpose.'”


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