Sources Say Former CJRW Employee Still Waiting for Stock Payout

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Jul. 14, 2014 12:00 am  

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s July 6 article catching up on the transitions underway at Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods touched on the touchy topic of the advertising agency’s employee stock ownership plan. Several executives who have departed in recent years still have ownership in the company through the ESOP.

Darin Gray, CEO of CJRW since February, told the Democrat-Gazette that departing employee-owners are typically paid back over a five-year period. But one former employee “who left the agency several years ago” told the D-G that “he still has not been paid for his stock.”

Curious — but, of course, not something Whispers could follow up on directly since we don’t know who that unnamed former employee was.

When three former CJRW employees — Jay, Ross and Chris Cranford — showed up at Whispers Headquarters a few days later to announce the formation of their new agency, we put the question to them: Have you been paid for your ESOP shares in CJRW?

All three, less than three months after they departed, said they had received the first of what they expect will be five annual payouts.

If we were an unnamed former CJRW employee who allegedly hadn’t been paid after several years, we would be getting to the bottom of it.



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