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Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder of Chobani, America’s most popular Greek yogurt brand, epitomizes the American Dream: In 1994, the Turk emigrated to the United States with just $3,000 to his name, and he is now the owner of a company with $1.5 billion in annual sales. But Ulukaya doesn’t fit the stereotype of an American CEO. On the contrary, as a self-professed “anti-CEO,” he lets values other than profit and greed guide his actions. In an inspiring, humble talk, Ulukaya lays out the principles of his “anti-CEO playbook.”


In January 2005, Hamdi Ulukaya, a Turkish immigrant and cheese shop owner in upstate New York, visited a local 85-year-old yogurt plant that was on the market. He was deeply moved by the 55 soon-to-be laid-off factory workers who were solemnly dismantling the plant. Ulukaya hails from a family of dairy farmers that manufactured cheese and yogurt in Turkey, and the idea of introducing a natural Greek-style yogurt to the United States appealed to him. He took out a loan to buy the plant and started to rebuild it alongside four former plant employees whom he rehired. Within two years, Ulukaya had launched the Chobani yogurt brand and recruited most of the former plant’s staff, along with hundreds of additional...

About the Speaker

Hamdi Ulukaya is the founder and CEO of Chobani, a Greek yogurt brand. 

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