OSI Group: Vibrant Past, Expansive Future

OSI Group is ranked in the top 100 on the Forbes list for wealthiest American corporations; As a matter of fact, the group is ranked 63rd. As a holding corporation of many smaller subsidiary companies, they have revenues of 6.1 billion dollars and they are headquartered in Aurora, Illinois … not far from where they grew up in Chicago during the 1950’s when they were called Otto and Sons, Incorporated (OSI for short). Otto and Sons grew and grew as a main supplier of McDonald’s, and is now the world’s single largest private food producing company.

OSI Group is headed by CEO Sheldon Lavin and COO David McDonald, who does in fact have a farm as the song goes. David grew up on a farm in Northern Iowa and attended Iowa State University for a bachelor’s degree in Animal Sciences ,while later going on to become a chairman at the North American Meat Institute. His breadth of experience helped him tremendously in negotiating with international partners and in navigating the international waters of foreign food laws.

Sheldon Lavin, on the other hand, comes from the world of finance. He graduated from the Roosevelt University of Chicago with a degree in accounting and finance, and became the CEO of OSI Group in 1975 after running his own financial services in downtown Chicago for years. He has been instrumental in growing the OSI Group into a multibillion dollar organization, and has helped the company expand into Europe, Asia, India, and beyond. Between the two of them, the company has been a powerhouse that kept pace with McDonalds needs and the needs of other prominent organizations. More recently, with the addition of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef’s vice president, Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, the company is growing in new ways that can be measured in terms of environmental impact and social acceptance of best business practices.


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