When announcing his decision to give up ownership over Hobby Lobby, founder and CEO David Green cited his religion as the reason he was relinquishing it and attributed the company’s success to God.
Green’s op-ed for Fox News stated that “all my success had come from God.”
“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,” said Green.
He also described how he thought deeply about the company’s future before he ultimately decided to give up its ownership. Green also said he felt inspired by Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s former owner, who transferred ownership of his company to a nonprofit organization and specially designed trust.
“I experienced a similar decision-making process with my ownership of Hobby Lobby; I chose God,” said Green.
“That bigger mission and purpose helped me realize that I was just a steward, a manager of what God had entrusted me,” wrote Green. “God was the true owner of my business.”
He continued, “When I realized that I was just a steward, it was easy to give away my ownership.”
Green also said he realized he was a business steward rather than an owner, which prompted him to close the business on Sundays, close by 8 p.m. each evening, and pay workers $18.50 an hour. As founder and CEO, he said he felt responsible for taking care of his employees in these ways.
Green decided God is the “true owner” of the business
In the same op-ed, Green explained, “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. 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.”
Green concluded that he decided he was a steward and “God was the true owner of my business.”
The founder and CEO did not give specific details on how the company will be given away but said in a recent interview that 100% of the company’s voting stock had been moved into a trust.
“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,” he said. “So, 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.”
Hobby Lobby’s Christian connections have been in the news off and on over the years. Green and his family spent almost $500 million to open the Museum of the Bible, a museum that documents the history of the Bible, that opened in 2017 in Washington, D.C. In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby in a challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that employers offer the morning-after or Plan B pill. Hobby Lobby said this violated its owners’ religious liberties.
Early in the pandemic, in March 2020, the retailer opted to leave stores open because Green maintained employees “can all rest knowing that God is in control.” According to Forbes, Green’s net worth is $14 billion.