A British entrepreneur whose international communications company has represented the Dalai Lama has decided the secret to happiness is to give his company away, rather than selling out, so that he can stay at home to look after his children.
Simon Cohen has held a two-month-long audition process to find suitable candidates to take over the £1 million firm, after deciding that selling or merging it might betray the values of the company he had set up.
After he narrowed a field of more than 200 hundred candidates from 30 countries, the two successful applicants will become managing directors and between them receive 95 per cent of the company’s shares, £10,000 cash and all the company’s assets.
His 11-year-old firm, called Global Tolerance, has specialised in communications and marketing for social activism, with clients including the United Nations and the Dalai Lama.
He told The Telegraph that what might seem like a generous gesture was in fact only “enlightened self interest”, which had “only brought me more happiness”.
Mr Cohen, 35, who has a 15-month-old daughter called Seren and whose wife has another child due in November, said: “When my wife fell pregnant, it was the most real thing in the world and I had to think what was most of value to me.”
He said he decided “there was nothing worth more in the world than to be present for my wife and children”.
Once he decided to leave however, he said he was left with the question of what to do with the firm. Selling it or having it merge with another PR firm could mean the company’s goals would be lost he said.
He said: “What tends to happen is that the merged or acquired organisation’s values get lost, or diminished.
“There didn’t seem to be a way of leaving the company that would keep its values.”
He decided on a global search for the right person to take over the company.
After a lengthy, five-stage interview process, he chose Noa Gafni, a digital strategist from the World Economic Forum and Rosie Warin, a PR director from Forster Communications.
Mr Cohen, who lives in Cornwall, said his example was unlikely to be followed by money-minded entrepreneurs, but he hoped it would become a model for others interested in making sure their companies kept their values.
He said: “To me this is not an act of philanthropy; this is a model for sustainable business.”
Mr Cohen will keep five per cent of the company’s shares and said he expected it would be difficult to let go.
He will do one day a week communications consultancy work to pay the bills. He said the couple had not decided if his wife, Kate, would go back to work as a travel editor.
Source Credits: Ben Farmer of The Telegraph