The Original Fortrove Designer
Jewelry Blog

Founder of Kesslers Diamonds, Richard Kessler, has stepped away from his company. He began Kesslers Diamonds in 1980, founding a seven-store chain, becoming the main voice for radio advertisements. 

“Fifteen years ago, we started involving employees in the business—by giving them 10 percent of the profits,” said Kessler in a 2015 interview with JCKexplaining how Kesslers has become the only jewelry retailer to be employee-owned. “That meant we had to open our books to them and teach them how the business is run. In 2011, we finally formed an employee stock ownership plan [ESOP], where we basically turned over 49 percent of the company to the employees. It’s part of a long-term succession plan for me. Every year we put shares from the ESOP trust into employees’ accounts.

“Employees end up taking care of the business as though it were [solely] their own. There’s an investment there,” added Kessler. “When we hire people, they go crazy when they hear about it—to think you’re going to work for a company and get to own a part of it right away. Some senior people don’t love it quite as much because it’s a long-term thing. It’s the young people who will benefit from it the most. But you can’t please everyone.”

As of right now, Kessler's LinkedIn profile confirms his departure from the company with a “former CEO” title written in.