Sheldon Lavin is the Chairman and CEO of OSI Group, a renowned meat processing company that is known for being the main supplier to McDonald’s. Lavin got involved in the company when he worked as a financial consultant in the early 1970s. He would only start consulting with the company before later becoming involved in the day to day operations and becoming CEO.
OSI Group’s history is a shining example of the American Dream coming true. OSI Group was founded by German immigrant Otto Kolschowsky in 1909, just two years after immigrating to the U.S.. The business began as a butcher shop and meat market, but Kolschowsky would soon get involved in the wholesale side of the meat business. His company would continue to expand, and in 1928, his sons would become involved in the family business which was now known as Otto & Sons.
In 1955, franchise tycoon Ray Kroc would open his first McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois. Before officially opening the franchise location, Kroc signed an agreement with Mr. Kolschowsky to have Otto & Sons be their official meat supplier. This agreement would become the deal of a lifetime. In a few years, Ray Kroc would buy out McDonald’s from the McDonald’s brothers and become CEO of the franchise.
As the story goes, Kroc grew McDonald’s into a national icon in the 1960s, and he kept his agreement with Otto & Sons. As McDonald’s grew, so did Otto & Sons. As the 1960s brought on rapid growth, Otto & Sons needed financial consulting to help manage their new expansion. In 1970, they hired Sheldon Lavin as their new financial consultant.
Lavin would spend the next five years working closely with the Kolschowsky sons, as a consultant. The sons were reaching retirement age and needed an heir to continue managing the company. In 1975, Sheldon Lavin was brought on as a partner, and he would eventually become CEO. The company would be named OSI Group and would grow rapidly.
Under Sheldon Lavin’s leadership in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, OSI Group opened up its first meat processing facilities outside of Chicago and is now physically located in 17 different countries with over 70 different facilities. Though meat remains their primary product, they have also expanded into sauces, vegetables and baked goods.
Sheldon Lavin’s vision for OSI Group’s future is to continue to expand the company and let it serve as a shining example of the American Dream. What began as a small mom & pop butcher shop has grown into a business empire. OSI’s Sheldon Lavin receives Global Visionary Award