Leonard Green & Partners has shared more than $2 billion of profits with employees of companies it backs, a move that won praise on the sidelines of the Milken Institute Global Conference.

Jonathan Sokoloff, managing partner of Leonard Green & Partners LP

“In 2021 alone, over 7,500 portfolio-company employees participated in profit-sharing or other distributions” in addition to their regular compensation, said John Danhakl, a managing partner at the Los Angeles-based private equity firm. “We believe in the stakeholder model where the employees who contribute to our companies’ performances share in the successes and the value they help create.”

Employees of companies including Mister Car Wash Inc., SRS Distribution and Charter Next Generation are among those that received a piece of the profits, and more than $1 billion was shared with workers outside of the executive suite. Leonard Green took Mister Car Wash public in June and remains its biggest shareholder.

The firm, with more than $50 billion of assets under management, said it has been a early participant in the “conscious capitalism” movement and seeks to partner with companies and management teams that believe in shared success, which can include providing equity stakes and sale bonuses.

Some industry executives who attended the Milken conference in Beverly Hills congratulated Jonathan Sokoloff, also a Leonard Green managing partner, as word of its largesse spread.

“It is the most gratifying thing we’ve ever done at Leonard Green over our 30-plus year history,” Sokoloff said. “We have a multitude of stories of employees at our companies who have achieved life-changing financial independence that many thought would never be possible, and our goal is to increase the impact we can have.”

Other alternative asset managers also share profits with employees of portfolio companies. Earlier this year, New York-based KKR & Co. disbursed $500 million of profits from the sale of manufacturer Ingersoll Rand Inc. to 16,000 workers at the Davidson, North Carolina-based industrial-equipment manufacturer.

Beginning in 2011, KKR implemented an employee ownership model within its industrials portfolio. This enables profit-sharing with staff, including hourly workers, in at least 11 portfolio companies including Charter Next Generation, which it co-owns with Leonard Green, a KKR spokeswoman said.