Hamdi Ulukaya is founder, Chairman and CEO of Chobani, LLC, one of the fastest growing food companies in the last decade and a pioneer for the natural food movement.
Raised in a dairy-farming family in a small village in eastern Turkey, Ulukaya launched Chobani in 2007 with the mission and vision of making better food more accessible. In less than five years, Chobani became the No. 1–selling Greek Yogurt brand in the U.S. with more than a billion dollars in annual sales. Earlier this year, Chobani was named by Fast Company as one of the 10 most innovative companies in the world, and number one in its Food and Social Good categories.
Ulukaya has always made helping people and having a positive impact on communities a priority for Chobani. From the beginning, the company has donated a portion of its profits to charitable causes, many of them in Idaho and New York where its products are made. A champion of reducing income and wealth inequality nationwide, Ulukaya advocated in support of a proposal to increase the minimum wage in New York that ultimately became law. In addition, last year Ulukaya announced a groundbreaking profit-sharing program for company’s 2,000 employees. He also took the rare step in manufacturing of instituting a six week, fully paid parental leave program for all of the company’s mothers and fathers.
In 2016, Ulukaya launched the Chobani Food Incubator to mentor and support socially responsible food entrepreneurs and further deliver on the company’s mission to provide better food for more people.
A devoted philanthropist, Ulukaya founded the Tent Foundation to bring entrepreneurial approaches and creative solutions to help end the global refugee crisis. He also signed the Giving Pledge and committed the majority of his personal wealth to the cause. For these efforts, he was named an Eminent Advocate by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and received the United Nations Foundation Global Leadership Award, among other recognitions.
Ulukaya sits on the board of the International Board of Special Olympics, the Pathfinder Village, and The American Turkish Council. A big fan of independent films and the Turkish soccer team Fenerbahce, Ulukaya lives in New Berlin, N.Y.