SAINT PAUL, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--CodeWeavers, the company behind the open source Wine project, is establishing an employee ownership trust that will hold a controlling stake in the company. The CodeWeavers Employee Ownership Trust will give employees a greater voice in the company's decision-making process and enable them to share in its profits.
Employee ownership trust models are increasingly common in Europe but are still rare in the United States. CodeWeavers will become one of the first software companies in the U.S. to adopt this new ownership model.
“I started looking at employee ownership models three years ago.” said CodeWeavers founder and CEO Jeremy White. “ESOPs and coops rely on specific U.S. laws, and our workforce is spread around the world. With an employee ownership trust, I was able to get exactly the result I wanted, with a much lower ongoing cost structure.”
CodeWeavers worked with Common Trust, the leading U.S. expert in employee ownership exit planning, to design and execute the company's transition to an employee ownership trust. “Common Trust has been invaluable in helping us to envision and establish our trust,” said White.
Under the new ownership structure, the Trust will eventually become the sole shareholder of the company. The Trust has a defined purpose, which will ensure that the company continues to operate for the benefit of its customers, the open source community, and its staff. A stewardship committee will guide the Trust in accordance with those principles. The committee consists primarily of staff elected to serve in that role, giving staff a dominant voice in company guidance.
This move is in line with CodeWeavers' longstanding commitment to open source principles, which prioritize collaboration, transparency, and community engagement. The company has a long history of contributing to the development of open source software, most notably the Wine Project which enables Windows software to run on macOS and Linux systems. The Wine Project, under the code name Proton, powers the compatibility used by the popular Steam Deck gaming system.
“We believe that this trust represents a new model for corporate governance,” said White. “The trust allows the company to be run for the benefit of the staff and the broader community, rather than for shareholder profit. I believe this will create a more sustainable, ethical, and equitable business.”
“I'm looking forward to seeing this in practice!” said Proton lead developer Arek Hiler. “The relationship with many employers is very one-sided—employees are there to generate value for the owners and can be made redundant on shareholders' whim. With this change, I know the company has my back. Not only is it more democratic, but profits will go to the employees who generate them.”
The CodeWeavers Employee Ownership Trust came into effect in April of 2023. Jeremy White will remain a shareholder for 7 years, after which the Trust will be the sole owner.
As a part of the company's succession plan, White has transitioned from his role as CEO and now serves as Chairman of the Board and a member of the Trust Stewardship Committee. James Ramey, the longstanding company president, will assume the role of CEO. This transition ensures a seamless leadership handover and positions the company for continued progress under Ramey's capable leadership. For more information about the CodeWeavers Employee Ownership Trust and CodeWeavers' commitment to open source principles, please visit https://codeweavers.com.
CodeWeavers is a leading provider of software solutions that enable Linux, macOS, and other operating systems to run Windows software. The company has a long history of contributing to the development of open source software.
About Common Trust
Common Trust is the leader in employee ownership exit planning in the United States, helping founders achieve a competitive sale that sets the company up for long-term success and protects the company’s mission and values. Since its founding, Common Trust has mobilized over $100 million in capital to support employee ownership exits and helped over 1,000 employees share in company ownership.