Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya Isn't Going Anywhere, Says Insider

Image Rumors have been flowing thick and fast around Greek-yogurt maker Chobani of late, as industry watchers have suggested that founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya could be headed for the door, to be replaced by an executive with more "operational" expertise. That's all misinformation and speculation, Chief Marketing Officer Peter McGuinness said in an interview with TheStreet. Chobani has grown quickly and is now the No. 1 selling yogurt brand in the U.S., which has led naturally to some inefficiencies. The company recently built its second factory, for example, and it's the largest yogurt-making facility in the world.

The company raised money last year with TPG Capital to finance innovations such as the equipment to produce its new Flip yogurt line; along the way, TPG supplied privately held Chobani with some help in cutting waste and optimizing the company amid its ongoing rapid growth phase.

But as for Ulukaya, he's not going anywhere.

"He's founder, owner, chairman and CEO, so he runs the company, day in and day out," said McGuinness. "He focuses probably more on the brand, and the marketing, and the innovation, and the product development, the vision, the mission."

"He signs off on every [new flavor]," noted McGuinness. "He's in on all the tastings, and says go/no go."

In short, concluded McGuinness "He's very actively involved," and no changes to that are "imminent."  But if at some point Ulukaya decides he wants a partner with more of that operational focus, he'll go out and find one.

In the meantime, grab a spoon and wait to see what Ulukaya and Co. come up with next.
By Mathew Schwartz, (TheStreet) --
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07