Sheldon Lavin’s Finance Turned Food Guru Career

Sheldon Lavin knows money pretty well and he’s used it in a great way to build a billion-dollar company in OSI Group. But if you really were to ask Lavin what he really cares about, it’s the people he works with and comes into contact with on a day-to-day basis.

Sheldon Lavin’s company is OSI Group which processes meat and distributes it to supermarket and restaurant chains all over the world, and even though Lavin is 81 years old and has been an executive for a long time, he’s not about to retire just yet. Lavin’s work turning OSI Group into the company it is earned him the Global Visionary Award, an award given by India’s Global Vision Academy to honor the work of accomplished businessmen.

Sheldon Lavin’s story began in the banking industry where he made investments for clients at several big banks back in the 1960s. In the 1970s he decided to go into business for himself by offering independent investment and finance management advice at a boutique consulting firm. It was here that one of his clients was Otto & Sons who was looking to grow their company to keep up with the demands their partner McDonalds had for them. Sheldon Lavin worked well with the Kolschowsky sons who owned Otto & Sons and soon the company was opening multiple plants.

In the mid 1970s the Kolschowsky sons planned to retire and promote Sheldon Lavin to CEO. Initially he didn’t want this because he believed his specialty was finance instead of food, but by and by he began to see how family embodied the company and he believed he could turn the company into something very big. So he accepted the nomination to CEO and in the 1980s started opening processing plants overseas. Lavin has since formed partnerships and led acquisitions of companies such as Baho Food and a Tyson Food plant in south Chicago. Lavin also values philanthropy very much and is on the boards of several Chicago-based charities including the Boys & Girls Club, Inner City Foundation, Jewish United Fund and most notably the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

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