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# Hamdi Ulukaya

Random fact: Chobani is derived from the Turkish word for shepherd.


Ulukaya is the founder, chairman and majority shareholder of Chobani, the Norwich, New York-based manufacturer of Chobani yogurt. The company's creamy, Greek-style yogurt comes in nine varieties and more than 60 flavors. The business shipped its first order in 2007 and had revenue of about $1.5 billion in 2016.

As of Jan. 21, 2018:
Last change ()
YTD change ()
Industry Food & Beverage
Biggest asset N/A
Citizenship Turkey
Age 44
Wealth Self-made
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Relative Value

Hamdi Ulukaya's net worth of can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

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Birthdate: 1972
Family: Divorced, No children
Education: State University of New York at Albany

Ulukaya was born in Erzincan, Turkey in 1972, into a family with a history in the dairy industry. A self-proclaimed "dairy boy," he grew up working on his family's sheep farm and in its feta cheese manufacturing business. After studying political science at Ankara University, he moved to the U.S. In 1997 to study English at Adelphi University in Garden City, New York. After Adelphi, he enrolled at the State University of New York in Albany, to pursue a business degree. At the urging of his father, he left college to run a wholesale feta cheese company he'd founded in Johnstown, New York in 2001.

Four years later, Ulukaya saw a classified advertisement for a shuttered yogurt factory once owned by Kraft Foods. With the help of a Small Business Administration loan, he purchased the factory and began to make yogurt under a new corporate entity, Agro-Farma. The first cases of Chobani Greek yogurt were shipped to Long Island supermarkets in 2007.

From 2009 through 2012, sales of Chobani increased almost 400 percent, according to data from New York-based company research firm PrivCo. Chobani was a sponsor of the 2012 London Summer Olympics and in July of that year, the company opened its first retail outlet, a yogurt bar in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood.

In April 2014, Chobani took a $750 million loan from private equity firm TPG. The investment allowed TPG to take as much as 35 percent of the yogurt maker.

  • 1972 Ulukaya is born in Erzincan, Turkey.
  • 1982 Works on family's dairy farm as a child.
  • 1997 Moves to the U.S. to study English.
  • 2001 Starts Euphrates, a wholesale feta cheese company.
  • 2005 Buys former Kraft yogurt factory after seeing ad in paper.
  • 2005 Creates yogurt maker Agro-Farma; renamed Chobani Inc. in 2012.
  • 2007 First cases of Chobani are shipped to Long Island supermarkets.
  • 2012 Chobani becomes an official sponsor of 2012 London Olympics.
  • 2012 Company opens yogurt bar in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood.
  • 2014 Secures a $750 million loan from private equity group, TPG Capital.