Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya’s “Anti-CEO Playbook”

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In this episode of Re:Thinking with Adam Grant, Adam speaks with Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO of Chobani, an American yogurt company. They discuss Hamdi’s “anti-CEO playbook,” what business philosophies shape his leadership, and why he prioritizes people over profit. Hamdi also shares the work he is doing with refugees around the world, and why he invests in projects with adaptable plans and resilient people.

Hamdi Ulukaya is founder, Chairman, and CEO of Chobani, 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 of making better food more accessible. From the beginning, the company has donated a portion of its profits to charitable causes. In addition, Ulukaya implemented a groundbreaking profit-sharing program for the company’s 2,000 employees. 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. He also signed the Giving Pledge, committing the majority of his personal wealth to the cause. Ulukaya is also a recipient of the Oslo Business for Peace Award and was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for his work on the refugee crisis and his innovative approach to business.

Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist who studies work motivation, job design, and prosocial and proactive behaviors. His research examines the forces that motivate employees to help others, and the implications of these behaviors for success and well-being. Although many employees do work that has a meaningful impact on others, all too often, they lack a vivid understanding of how their efforts make a difference. Grant’s studies demonstrate that employees work harder, smarter, longer, more generously, and more productively when they can see how their work affects others. He is the author, most recently, of Think Again among others.