HAMDI ULUKAYA

greek-yogurt-boom
Few have done more to usher in the Greek yogurt craze in the United States than Hamdi Ulukaya — the founder, president and CEO of Chobani. Born in Turkey, he came to the United States to study business in 1997 and in 2001 he started a feta cheese company in central New York. But Ulukaya’s billion-dollar dairy idea wasn’t cheese. In 2005 he bought a Kraft Foods yogurt plant in a neighboring town and began perfecting the recipe for Greek-style yogurt. The first order was shipped in October 2007, and now revenues exceed $1.2 billion. Ulukaya has continued to reinvest in growing the company, purchasing a factory in Twin Falls, Idaho, in December 2012. Ernst & Young named him their 2013 entrepreneur of the year. But he’s faced some adversity of late: Russia blocked shipments of the company’s yogurt bound for U.S. Olympic athletes in Sochi, which Chobani ultimately donated to food banks in New York and New Jersey. The company issued a recall in September after consumers complained of mold-tainted yogurt cups. Additionally, Whole Foods has decided to no longer carry Chobani products. Ex-wife Alyse Giray is suing Ulukaya for $1.5 billion, claiming she gave him money to start and expand his original business in exchange for a 53% stake. Ulukaya has said the suit has no merit.

Source; Forbes.com

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