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|Headquarters||Fenton, Missouri, United States|
|Steve Maritz (Chairman and CEO, Maritz Holdings, Inc.), Dennis Hummel (President, Martiz Holdings, Inc.)|
|Revenue||$1.3 billion (2016)|
Number of employees
Maritz is a sales and marketing services company that designs and operates employee recognition and reward programs, sales channel incentive programs, (including incentive travel rewards) and customer loyalty programs. It also plans corporate trade shows, meetings and events, and offers a customer experience technology platform. Subsidiaries and segments include Maritz Motivation Solutions, MaritzCX, the Maritz Institute, Maritz Travel and Maritz Research.
In 1894, Edward Maritz started the E. Maritz Jewelry Manufacturing Company, a wholesaler and manufacturer of fine jewelry and engraved watches. By the 1920s, the company was concentrating on wholesaling imported watches and became one of the first in the nation to sell wristwatches. When the stock market crashed in 1929, the company nearly failed. The crisis forced Maritz to look for a new direction, and it began to sell watches, jewelry and merchandise to large corporations as sales incentives and service awards for employees.
Over the next three decades, the sales incentive business flourished. Each year, Maritz produced an increasingly elaborate merchandise awards catalog and added services to promote and administer sales incentive programs. With the purchase of a small Detroit travel company in the 1950s, Maritz branched out again, adding group travel as an incentive award. As the 1960s ended, Maritz began to diversify with new divisions that laid the groundwork for ventures in communications, marketing research, training and meeting production.
The company further diversified in the 1970s. Maritz built communications and marketing research businesses, established a presence in Europe and opened a travel office in Mexico City.
Through acquisitions starting in 1981, Maritz became a major supplier of corporate travel services.
In the 1990s Maritz invested in automotive marketing research. They formed Maritz Canada and added offices throughout Western Europe. During the late 1990s and into the new millennium, Maritz continued to grow in loyalty reward and incentive travel through strategic partnerships with companies such as American Express.
In May 2014, Maritz Canada rebranded to form North America's first brand loyalty agency, Bond Brand Loyalty. The focus of the new agency was to help clients manage customer-brand relationships. The company sold Bond Brand Loyalty in 2015.
Generational family problems and internal struggles
In the late 1940s, two sons of company founder, Edward Maritz – James A. Maritz, Sr. and Lloyd Maritz – were at odds over the business model for the company. As sales rose after World War II, they differed in opinion over how to manage the business. In 1950, they divided the company and went their separate ways. Lloyd, who had mostly run the incentives business, surprised observers by picking the traditional, wholesale jewelry operation. James was left with the incentives business. They soon were competing for a project with General Motors, both under the name, “Maritz”. James Maritz’s company won the project. "After that, the James Maritz and Lloyd Maritz families no longer spoke with one another," Bill Maritz wrote in his memoir.
In 1982, the sons of James Maritz, Sr. – Bill Maritz and Jim Maritz, Jr. – were in a similar situation as their father and uncle Lloyd had been in 1950. They each controlled one third of the stock, as did their sister, Jean Maritz Hobler. The two brothers were struggling with each other for control of the corporation. At their urging, Jean chose a consultant to pick the best leader. The brothers signed undated resignation letters and the consultant set about studying the company. On May 31, 1983, he announced his decision to the brothers in the Maritz boardroom in Fenton, MO. He had chosen the plans made by Bill Maritz. Jim Maritz and his son, James Maritz III, left the company and the two brothers never spoke again.
Several years later, Jean Maritz Hobler, with fifty percent ownership of the company (following Jim Maritz’s divestiture of assets) questioned Bill Maritz’s leadership of the company. In a very tense series of negotiations, the Hoblers agreed in 1994 to sell their stake in Maritz, Inc. for $62 million.
With Bill Maritz and his immediate family sole owners of the company, he began planning for the eventual change of leadership at his retirement. In 1998, he promoted his middle son, Steve Maritz, to chief operating officer. There was dissent from Steve’s brothers, Peter and Phillip Maritz (their sister, Alice Maritz Starek, had sold her interest in the company two years earlier). Bill Maritz, ill from cancer, drafted a will that made it impossible for the brothers to resist Steve’s leadership without jeopardizing their stock holdings in the company (Bill Maritz and his wife, Phyllis, divorced in 1991). After Bill Maritz’s death in 2001, Steve Maritz exercised the terms defined by his father and demanded the surrender of stock owned by his brothers Peter and Phillip. They sued Steve over valuation of stock, and the legal process dragged on for several years, ending in a settlement in 2007.
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