A Changing of the Guard

by Anthony Mathews

Corey Rosen

Corey Rosen, NCEO founder and former executive director

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the date Corey Rosen started the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) in his Washington D.C. basement. It also represents the last year in which he will have held the title as its executive director. From its beginning, the NCEO was intended to be an unbiased accessible source of information on employee ownership, and it has been true to that vision for its entire history. Today, there is no dispute that NCEO is the principal and most reliable source of employee ownership information in the U.S. (and arguably around the world).

Through his entire career, Rosen has set a standard for ethics and intellectual honesty that has made him both the most-often-quoted authority on employee ownership and one of the most-admired people in this great community. He always has shown an unflagging work ethic and clarity of thought that has made him one of the great teachers in the employee-ownership community and an indispensable factor in the growth of employee ownership across the country. We simply couldn’t be where we are without him.

Given all of that, as he steps down as executive director, one might be tempted to fear that the amazing resource he has created would be lost in the process. But, if that were the case, one would have seriously underestimated the character of the man. All along, Corey also has been true to the operational vision of employee ownership. Following his conviction that a participatory form of management will generate a superior organization, Corey developed the NCEO as an intellectual community that engages great people and gives them the freedom to do great things on their own. As a consequence, Corey’s legacy as founder and leader for 30 years, is a dynamic, innovative operation with a skilled and autonomous staff that will certainly carry on with the work — long after he has left the helm — in this case, to the eminently capable Loren Rodgers who is, in his own right, a highly respected leader in the community.

We are very glad to report that surrendering the helm at NCEO is not the end of Corey’s involvement in employee ownership. Effective at our joint annual conference in April, Corey stepped down as executive director of the Center and at the same time moved into his new role as senior staff member (which to my mind is a clear front runner for the “unspeakably humble title of the year” award). Of course, we wish him well in his new position, but mostly we are just very glad that he will continue to be around to share his wisdom and experience with all of us who love this community and want to see it flourish.

Thanks Corey, for 30 great years. Thank you for the direction you set for our effort 30 years ago and thank you for being true to it for all these years. We all look forward to working with you in the years to come.

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