Covey’s success extended to his company, for a time
Business • Merger with Franklin Quest eventually stumbled.
Published: July 16, 2012 08:32PM
Updated: October 30, 2012 11:32PM

Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People brought him worldwide notice and also was the catalyst for his Covey Leadership Center in Orem.

Although the latter enjoyed years of success, its most recent incarnation has not been without its share of ups and downs.

The center began as Stephen R. Covey & Associates in 1980 and was renamed the Covey Leadership Center in 1989. It grew to 40 offices worldwide that sold training, books, tapes and videos and produced conferences where Covey talked about his approach to business management.

From 1992 to 1996, the center had profits of $19 million, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents.

In 1997, the Covey Leadership Center merged with Franklin Quest, which sold a successful time-management planner, to become Franklin Covey. Stephen Covey or a trust he established was to receive $27 million in cash or stock as a result of the merger, according to SEC documents filed before the merger.

But the combined entity did not perform as the two companies had hoped. From a high of $28.25 per share in July of 1997, the stock price had a fairly steady decline, dropping to 66 cents in April 2003 before regaining some ground. On Monday, shares closed down 23 cents to finish the day at $9.81.

Franklin Covey now calls itself a “global performance improvement” company and says it operates in more 125 countries throughout the world.

Stephen Covey generated controversy in 1997 after it became known he had spoken in Hawaii at an event sponsored by Save Traditional Marriage ’96, an organization pushing a ballot measure to amend the state’s Constitution to give legislators the power to determine who could legally marry.

Covey told the gathering marriage is not for same-sex couples.

“To me, that is a kind of natural principle for a natural law,” Covey said, according to a Salt Lake Tribune story. “And that’s why I am behind this kind of movement.”

A Franklin Covey officer later apologized for Covey’s presence at the event, and the company approved an anti-discrimination policy that included sexual orientation.