Company’s History Mirrors Trends in Global Trade
Throughout its long history, Dorian Drake’s evolution has mirrored the major trends in global trade.
The firm was founded in New York City in 1947 by a British bank hoping to capitalize on the global demand for manufactured goods following the rupture in trade caused by World War II. Known then as Drake America Corporation, the export management company grew steadily during the 1950s and 1960s as the pace of global trade accelerated. Buoyed by continued growth and backed by an expanded roster of investors, Drake America acquired several other export management companies during the 1970s and reached a then all-time sales peak in 1979.
The company’s fortunes turned during the early 1980s, as the U.S. dollar’s value reached historic heights. After five years of declining revenues and mounting losses, Drake America was sold in 1985.
The new owners were the principals of another export management company, Dorian International, whose founding partner, Edward Dorian Sr., had served as Drake’s president from 1967 to 1974. Dorian Sr. and his son, Edward Jr., consolidated the two companies and restored Drake to profitability by 1987.
Taking full advantage of the emerging export opportunities in Asia and Latin America, the firm grew more than fourfold during the ensuing ten years, but saw many of those gains reversed in the wake of the 1997 Asia currency crisis and the Latin American recession that followed.
In response, the Dorians in 2002 embraced a new business methodology, open-book management, which empowered employees to closely manage all aspects of the business. The conversion to open-book management helped the company capitalize on the resurgence of global trade beginning in 2003 and rebound quickly from the global financial crisis that unfolded in late 2008.
The company success with open-book management prompted the owners in 2012 to grant partial ownership of the company to an employee stock ownership plan established for its U.S. employees and a parallel phantom stock plan for its foreign staff, inviting all staff to participate in the process of building, and benefiting from, growth in shareholder value.
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