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Hobby Lobby CEO Trades Ownership for Stewardship

David Green, Hobby Lobby CEO, in an opinion published on the Fox News website announced his decision to give away ownership of his multi-billion dollar company. Green compared his decision to Patigona’s founder’s choice to do the same.

“Best of all, when I made the decision to give away my ownership, similar to Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard, it allowed us to sustain our mission and purpose,” Green wrote, “It gives me a bigger purpose than just making money.”

Despite advice from lawyers and accountants to keep the company in the family, Green said he “chose God.”

Green recognized the importance of his responsibility to the company.

“More importantly, I was responsible for the mission and purpose of what I’d been given,” Green wrote, “When I realized that I was just a steward, it was easy to give away my ownership.”

Green discussed the difference between ownership and stewardship and encouraged other business owners to do the same.

He addressed the dual results of wealth, saying “it can be a curse.”

"Wealth can be a curse and, in most cases, if you drill down on it, wealth is a curse in terms of marriage, children and things of that nature,” Green said. “We're stewarding our company and, therefore, our children come to work, and they get what they earn.” it's a paradigm change from ownership that can really wreck a family.”

“I think every CEO and business leader should consider whether they are owners or stewards. Consider the idea of where your success comes from,” Green wrote, “I believe that God is the one who grants success, and with it the responsibility to be a good manager.”

Green’s source of truth has always been the Bible and prayer. He talked about God’s “challenge” to tithe 10% of income and wondered what the world would be like if every company tithed.

He encouraged other CEOs to read the book of Proverbs for “wisdom beyond” themselves. But the most challenging advice Green offered to other CEOs was to ask themselves a question.

“Perhaps the biggest challenge is to ask the question of whether you are an owner or a steward – a manager of what you’ve been entrusted with,” Green wrote.

In an interview with Fox and Friends, Green said what was happening to the company in lieu of his decision.

"All the voting stock is in 1% in its trust, and it is being managed and being stewarded instead of seeing ourselves as owners,” Green said.

Green concluded with the purpose of Hobby Lobby.

"From the very beginning, our purpose was to honor God in all that we did. We worked hard and God gave the results,” Green said. “As we were blessed by God, we saw it as a great privilege to give back. We’ve been able to provide hope through supporting ministries and planting churches all over the world."

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