Sheldon Lavin has spent more than 40 years as the CEO and chairman of the food processing company the OSI Group. During that time he has led the American company to its current place among the leaders in the global food production industry. Because of the sustained success the company has enjoyed and its growth from an Illinois meat market into a company with 70 food processing locations on 5 continents, the World Vision Academy gave Sheldon Lavin their 2016 Global Visionary award.
Although many people worldwide associate Sheldon Lavin with the OSI Group, Lavin had already enjoyed professional success for decades before he took over the OSI Group. After earning undergraduate degrees in accounting, finance and business from the University of Illinois, Northwestern University and Roosevelt University, Lavin worked in banking and was an investor for several years. He then ran the financial services company Sheldon Lavin and Associates for 15 years before turning his attention to the OSI Group. And he used his financial savvy and experience and expertise in business to make it prosper.
Global expansion was Sheldon Lavin’s goal for the OSI Group from the time he took over leadership of the company. He saw the vast market in Asia and quickly opened food processing facilities in China, Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines and India. Lavin also opened OSI Group facilities in Mexico and Brazil. Then he set his sights on European expansion. First Lavin established food processing facilities in Hungary, Poland and Spain. Next, he acquired Baho Foods, a Dutch company, to give the OSI Group as presence in Northern Europe. Lavin also bought UK based Flagship Europe. Together they gave the OSI Group customers in about two dozen European countries.
Even as the OSI Group was expanding into countries across the globe, Sheldon Lavin was also increasing the number of facilities and customers the company had in the United States. The Aurora, Illinois headquartered company acquired Amick Farms on the East Coast, a former Tyson Foods plant in the Midwest and a number of companies in the South and the West Coast. As a result, Lavin has built the OSI Group into one of the 100 largest privately-owned companies in the U.S.
Plus, Lavin has long been a generous supporter of Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago. He’s also the family charity The Sheba Foundation’s president and director.
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