CHICAGO NKH&W is changing its name to Nicholson Kovac and has embarked on an employee stock ownership plan to preserve the firm's "fierce independence," according to the shop's principals.
"Independence gives us the freedom to initiate marketing solutions that are right for our clients and respond to their best interests," said Pete Kovac, CEO of the Kansas City, Mo., agency in a statement. "In a time in which most agencies are owned by international holding companies, Nicholson Kovac stands strongly on its own, debt free and independent."
Kovac will remain CEO of the $100 million shop, which specializes in business-to-business accounts. Nick Nicholson continues as executive vice president and chief creative officer.
The transfer of ownership from Nicholson and Kovac to the employees will be handled through a seller-funded ESOP from cash reserves and profits, according to Kovac. The structure allows the agency to avoid incurring too much debt, he said.