Ed Dorian Jr.

Best Bosses: Ed Dorian Jr. Managing partner at Dorian Drake International Inc.

Before we explain why Ed Dorian Jr., the managing partner of White Plains-based Dorian Drake International Inc., a coordinator of overseas distribution of products made by companies like Hamilton Beach Brands and Hitachi, Ltd., is such a great boss, let’s take a second to imagine the decline in his sleep quality that started in 1997. That’s when his company’s largest export market, Asia, fell into financial crisis, and then two years later a similar fate befell Latin America, and then the dot-com bust—you get the picture. Revenues slid from a high of $55 million in 1997 to $33 million in 2002. 

So Dorian took a risk: He cracked open the financials for all employees to see, linked everyone’s job to some aspect of the bottom line, and then tied every single full-time employee’s performance to a bonus target. “Either we all met the bonus plan or no one made bonus,” says Sigfredo Diaz, manager of IT and marketing services. Diaz says understanding exactly how their jobs are linked to company performance made employees “think like owners.”  

Says Dorian: “You give everyone a stake in the outcome—each one has a piece of this plan, and if everybody here can deliver their piece, we can all win.” Today, Dorian Drake pulls in more than $60 million annually, and he would never consider returning to the days before “open-book management,” as it’s called. “You can’t have people who don’t understand how their task relates to their own well-being,” he says. Dorian Drake paid out almost $700,000 in bonuses during 2011.

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And he went a step further in 2012, when he offered all employees an ownership stake via stock grants. Says Dorian: “We’re partially employee-owned. Open-book gives people a taste of ownership, but there’s nothing like real ownership, which we’ve now been able to transfer to our staff.”

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