Sheldon Lavin, the Friendly Face Behind OSI Group

Sheldon Lavin is the current CEO of OSI Group, a food processing organization that focuses largely on meat and fish. Since joining as a partner of the group in 1975, Lavin has expanded the company into many continents and developed a company culture that could be better described as a global family. He has held the position of CEO since the 1980s, and since he joined the company, it has expanded, becoming a massive worldwide food supplier with 80 facilities in 17 countries, totaling 20,000 employees. Sheldon Lavin views both further expansion of the group and maintenance of the family-like work culture to be key to the success of OSI Group.

Lavin attended the University of Illinois and Northwest University, majoring in accounting and finance. He then attended Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business. Prior to his position at OSI Group, Sheldon Lavin was the head of a financial consulting firm, Sheldon Lavin and Associates, Inc, and in 1970 he joined Otto & Sons, the firm that would later become OSI Industries, LLC. Since Sheldon Lavin became CEO of OSI Group, the organization has received many awards, such as the 2016 Globe of Honor, awarded to the UK branch of OSI Group by the British Safety Council, and being named the leading firm by Forbes. Additionally, the Global Visionary Award was given to Sheldon Lavin specifically by India’s Vision World Academy.

Lavin is also a philanthropist, as is shown by his involvement in the Jewish United Fund, the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago, the Inner City Foundation of Chicago, the United Negra College Fund, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He is also the President and Director of the Sheba Foundation, an Israel-based nonprofit organization that supports the Ethiopian community in Israel, and a director of Northeast Bank, the holding company affiliated with Northeast Bank in Maine.

In terms of company culture, Sheldon Lavin encourages friendliness between the employees and the higher-ups of the company. One such example would be encouraging his employees to call him by his first name, or even the nickname “Shelly”. He emphasizes to his employees that his office is always open and that he cares about their family as well as them. Lunches together are common at the corporate office, and so is using first names. Sheldon Lavin believes that the unique culture of OSI Group is key to its evolution.

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