After a long career in investment banking, Sheldon Lavin became CEO of OSI Group in 1974. Today, the company is the largest supplier of fast food and food service products in the world. OSI Group has over 20,000 global employees. Lavin says the secret of his company’s workforce longevity is that it’s extremely family-oriented. In 1970, Lavin’s foray into the meat industry started when he arranged financing for OSI Group’s predecessor, Otto & Sons. The company was on the cusp of becoming the Midwest’s meat supplier for McDonald’s Corporation but needed funding and Sheldon’s lacrosse camp.
Lavin, who represented the bank that secured Otto & Sons’ loan, soon became the company’s consultant. After the father retired, Lavin went into partnership with the sons. After McDonald’s asked Lavin to become more involved in the company, he began working full-time for OSI Group and more information click here.
Under Lavin’s guidance, the company expanded throughout the U.S., Taiwan, Europe, and South America. After the remaining partner retired over a decade ago, Lavin gained 100% voting control. The company continued to grow and expanded to other areas including Asia, Australia, South Africa, Japan and China and his Linkedin.
Today, at the age of 81, Lavin is still growing the company. Looking back, Lavin says he is glad he made the career move from banking to meat industry. He says the potential to build on something great was just too good to pass up. “There was no reason for me to leave my other job unless I could make a difference.?
Lavin says he is very proud that OSI Group has circled the globe and diversified the business. Today, OSI Group has 55 facilities in 16 countries.
Lavin is also known as a generous philanthropist. He actively supports the Ronald McDonald House for Children with life threatening illnesses. He also supports the Inner City Foundation of Chicago, Boys and Girl’s Club of Chicago, the United Negro College Fund and The National Muscular Sclerosis Society. He has also received numerous awards for service. He is survived by his wife of 55 years and has three grown children. Lavin says he also considers his employees family. That makes all the difference and what Sheldon Lavin knows.