Sheldon Lavin took his time to build a meat industry career. He entered the industry more than four decades ago. Lavin was an outsider who had success in investments. He worked in the banking industry and owned a consulting firm. Lavin took an unlikely path to become Chairman and CEO of OSI Group. He has transformed the formerly family-owned company into a worldwide supplier of food products. OSI operates under several brand names that include OSI Industries LLC, OSI International Foods LLC and OSI International Inc. OSI International Inc is the parent company of OSI’s international investments.
OSI Group currently employs more than 20,000 workers. Lavin is proud of the fact that he has established a culture of employees that believe in the company’s vision from the top ranks to the very bottom. He feels that the environment he created is unique and family-oriented. This is proven by the tremendous longevity of the company’s workforce. There is very little turnover at OSI, which is indicative of a healthy work setting.
Sheldon Lavin initially became involved with the meat industry in 1970. Otto and Sons was the predecessor to OSI. Lavin arranged the financing for Otto and Sons to build the plant they needed to secure its business relationship with the McDonald’s Corporation. The business venture needed funding. The bank recommended that Lavin play a role and suggested that he have an ownership position at Otto and Sons. Sheldon Lavin was not interested in such a business arrangement at the start. However, he did offer his services as a consultant. His stipulation to the Otto and Sons family was that he would have the same degree of leverage within the company as the current owners if he was to come in as a partner.
By 1975 Sheldon Lavin was thoroughly involved in the inner workings of Otto and Sons. He initiated overseas investments. Lavin became a partner with Otto Kolschowsky’s sons after Otto retired from the daily workings of the business. During this time McDonald’s executives requested that Lavin be involved in the business on a full-time basis. Lavin’s respect for the McDonald’s corporation convinced him to come in to Otto and Sons full time. The company then became known as OSI Group.
OSI Group expanded across North America and into Europe throughout the 70s. Eventually South America and Taiwan became working territories. By the early 80s Lavin had secured half of the controlling interest in OSI. This was after one of the original partners decided to sell his stake. The last partner retired over 13 years ago. This gave Sheldon Lavin 100% control over OSI Group.
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