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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Sheldon Laving Leads the Expansion Project of OSI Group

OSI group is one of the oldest companies in the food production and processing industry. The company was launched more than a hundred years ago. I was established in the year 1909. The founder of the company Otto Kolschowsky was an immigrant from the State of Germany whose intention at the time was simply to develop a business that would help him sustain his needs and those of his family. So he launched a simple butcher shop. A few years into the business, he decided to expand into the wholesale business. This meant that he would have to move the company location form Oak Park, Illinois where it was originally situated to Maywood. This was the beginning of Otto and Sons as a wholesale meat business. Visit bizjournals.com

It did not take long for the business to gain local recognition for its tremendous services and the quality of their products. In the year 1955, one and a half a decade after the McDonald’s restaurant business had been developed, Otto and Sons were commissioned by the restaurant franchise to be the supplier for their Illinois branch. This was at the time when the company was beginning to embrace the cryogenic food processing technique and was able to increase their quantity of processing. In the year 1971, Sheldon Lavin, a shrewd entrepreneur who was operating a firm at the time invested in the business and since then it has been an uphill climb for the company.

Sheldon Lavin’s leadership at OSI Group

It was until the year 1975 that Otto and Sons were renamed to the OSI Group after Sheldon Lavin had taken over the company as the largest shareholder and consequently, the Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of the board of the company. Since then he has made it his mission to make sure expansion is a culture in the company. In the 1990s after a successful local expansion project that led the company to open several branches in different parts of the company, the company began expanding internationally. The first international project was OSI Philippines, then China, followed by India and now over 65 other countries. The company has grown to become the leading privately owned firm in America under Sheldon Lavin. Read more on https://www.wattagnet.com/articles/27248-osi-group-buys-former-tyson-foods-plant-in-chicago