Hamdi Ulukaya Net Worth & Biography

Popular Name: Hamdi Ulukaya
Real Name: Hamdi Ulukaya
Birth Date: 26 October 1972
Birth Place: İliç, Turkey
Age: 49
Gender: Male
Nationality/Citizenship: Turkish
Height: N/A
Weight: N/A
Sexuality: Straight
Marital Status: Married
Spouse(s): Ayse Giray (m. 1997–1999)

Louise Vongerichten (m. 2018)

Children: 2
Profession: Businessman, Entrepreneur, Investor, Philanthropist, Activist
Years active: N/A
Net Worth: $3 Billion
Last Updated: 2022

Hamdi Ulukaya is the founder and chief executive officer of Chobani, one of the world’s fastest-growing food companies and a pioneer for the natural food movement. He has always made helping people and leaving a positive impact on communities a priority. From the beginning, Hamdi’s company has donated a portion of its revenues to charitable causes, many of them in New York and Idaho where its products are made. In 2016, the gifted businessman launched the Chobani Food Incubator to support and mentor socially responsible food enterprisers and further deliver on the mission of the company to provide better food for more people. Mr. Ulukaya also founded the Tent Partnership for Refugees dedicated to mobilizing the private sector to improve the livelihoods and lives of the more than twenty-five million refugees around the world. He also signed Bill Gates The Giving Pledge and committed a significant portion of his personal wealth to charity. For these efforts, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) named Hamdi an Eminent Advocate, and he received the United Nations Foundation Global Leadership Award, in addition to several other recognitions. CEO Ulukaya is also a Global Citizen Prize winner, an Oslo Business for Peace Award recipient, and was listed as one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People alive for his innovative approach to business and also for his work on the refugee crisis. More details follow below.

Early Life: Childhood, Family, Education

Although he isn’t certain about the exact day of his birth, he uses October 26, 1972 as his official birthday. He was born to a semi-nomadic family of Kurdish origin in Turkey. His family operated a dairy business and owned a goat and sheep farm.

He started his education in political science at Ankara University in Turkey. In 1994, he left his motherland and moved to the United States with $3,000 and enrolled at Adelphi University in New York where he studied English. Later, he enrolled in the State University of New York for business courses.

Professional Life: Entrepreneurial Career

The inferior quality of cheese in the new country he found himself and the advice of his father prompted Hamdi to import Feta cheese from Turkey. In 2002, after the imported cheese became popular in America, he opened a small factory named Euphrates in Johnstown, New York.

In 2005, he managed to secure loans and grants and purchased Kraft’s fully-equipped yogurt plant, which now lay nonoperational, in South Edmeston, New York. After researching and testing recipes for two years, he came up with a recipe that did not include preservatives, artificial flavors, and artificial colors. He also ensured that the milk came from cows that were not injected with growth hormones. In order to produce the thick strained yogurt on a commercial scale, he purchased a used milk separator for $50,000 from Wisconsin. He began selling the strained yogurt in 2017 under the brand name ‘Chobani’. The company adopted alternative marketing strategies to leverage its low funding. Social media influencers were their main advertising tools. In 2009, after Stop & Shop and ShopRite began stocking Chobani, the company was recording sales of 200,000 cases per week.

Hamdi Ulukaya joined the world’s billionaires list in 2010. Under his leadership, the company continued to expand exponentially by growing its market in Australia and investing in new factories. In 2012, he opened a yogurt cafe that he named ChobaniSoHo, offering exotic dishes, including soups and sandwiches. In 2015, he became a major stakeholder in La Colombe Coffee Roasters. However, he did not take up any management role.

In 2017, his company, Chobani re-invented its brand and established itself as a wellness organization that is focused on food. The company also undertook its biggest expansion in 2019, by entering into two new markets: oats-based products and natural dairy creamers.

Achievements: Awards & Honors

In October 2015, Hamdi’s commitment to helping refugees through the Giving Pledge Act was recognized by the American Turkish Society and he was honored with a humanitarian award.

In November 2015, the children’s aid society presented him with the Corporate Leadership Award in recognition of his efforts in bringing positive change in the lives of the underprivileged.

Recognizing his generous charities for the cause of refugees as well as his leadership ability, the successful businessman was included by Time Magazine to its list of the 100 most influential people on the planet.

Personal Life: Wife, Children, Residence, Private Interests

He married New York-based medical doctor Ayse Giray in the late 1990s. The couple divorced in 1999 due to unspecified reasons, but continued their business partnership until 2003.

In August 2012, Ayse filed a lawsuit against the entrepreneur demanding a 53 percent stake in his company, claiming that she had invested around $500,000 in Euphrates.

In 2015, he welcomed a son named Aga with Alida Boer.

In January 2018, he wedded president of Food Dreams Foundation Louise Vongerichten, and in April the same year, they welcomed their son named Miran.

Hamdi and his family presently resides in New Berlin close to Chobani’s headquarters in New York. He also lives with his two German Shepherds.

Hamdi Ulukaya Net Worth: Salary, Income Sources

The Turkish businessman and Philanthropist, Hamdi Ulukaya, owns a fortune of $3 billion.

As of this writing, Mr. Ulukaya resides with his family in the United States where all of his businesses have been established. He became a successful business tycoon after founding the world-renowned Chobani yogurt brand.

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