Finance Monthly CEO Awards 2015 Edition

86 www.finance-monthly.com FINANCE MONTHLY AUSTRALASIA AFRICA MIDDLE EAST ASIA NORTH AMERICA EUROPE Winner... Selim Bassoul Chicago, USA CEO of The Middleby Corporation Website: www.middleby.com FINANCE MONTHLY CEO AWARDS 2015 ABOUT SELIM BASSOUL The appliance industry in general had no innovation and competing mostly on price. Middleby itself was a small player with me too products and no customer loyalty. Since becoming CEO of The Middleby Corporation in 2000, Bassoul has delivered the most advanced, disruptive technologies worldwide, positioning Middlebly as one of the most successful global companies over the past 15 years. Middleby is a FORTUNE Fastest Growing company, a Forbes Best Small Company and has received many industry and customer recognitions. Middleby has grown from $100 million in revenues in 2000 to $2 billion in annual sales today, across more than 50 global brands, with a market capitalization of $7 billion. In one decade that Selim Bassoul led the company, its book value per share had increased an incredible 1100% versus S&P 500 of 70%. Today, one of three restaurants in the world use Middleby equipment in their kitchens. Bassoul rethinks the kitchen of the future by challenging energy, water, technology and the environment. Energy. Back in 2000, Selim and his team transformed Middleby into a technology company. At that time only two companies were working on energy efficiency, Toyota with the introduction of the hybrid Prius car and Middleby with the introduction of the Wow Oven. Middleby has the most Energy Star® rated commercial kitchen appliances on the market, more than any other manufacturer. Ventless. Selim continued to lead the trend in green design with ventless technologies. Middleby’s engineers were able to eliminate the needs of hoods in restaurant kitchens and its negative impact on the ozone and the environment. Today, due to technologies spearheaded by Middleby. Water. Restaurants are the biggest spenders of water usage. Most recently, Middleby was the first to tackle the water consumption in restaurants. We created appliances, like Turbochef waterless steamer, Cooktek Incognito Steam tables, that steam without water. In 2014 alone, Middleby saved its customers 1.4 billion gallons of water. By 2020, the goal is to reduce 10 billion gallons of water per year in the US. CEO INSIGHT How did Middleby become one of the best performing and fastest growing company in the world? It all starts with our people and our culture; we have 98% employee retention. I have been fortunate to have people working with me for over 30 years. The average tenure of my management team is over 15 years. We also promote having families working for us, which has been a tremendous success, despite going against conventional HR principles. Another essential part of our success is the strong relationship with our customers. “We don’t chase customers, we grow with them, and they grow with us. They trust us and they know we deliver for them. We also offer a no quibble warranty; if they don’t like something they can return it “no quibble”.” This is how we’ve raised the bar in terms of integrity and trust. I have made honesty and ethical behavior a key value of our core beliefs. The Middleby system requires that the division presidents operate with extreme autonomy. This not only allows me to focus on allocating capital, but it also makes Middleby a magnet for owners of acquisition targets who want to monetize their investments without sacrificing operational control. Middleby is one of a kind, the closest analogy is to a private equity company. But private equity companies are not interested in permanent value. When the recession hit hard in 2008, I invested heavily into the business. When everyone was fearful and retrenching, we were aggressive in investing millions of dollars in our national accounts team, in our factories and in our R&D. I have steered Middleby clear of the trappings of bureaucracy, its corporate office is tiny with no legal department, no human relations, no investor relations and no corporate jets. We also saw the need for the global expansion before our customers did. In 1996, Middleby began manufacturing operations in the Philippines, by 2008, it had opened China, Mexico, India and Brazil. Today, Middleby can service the needs of its customers across the globe. Our recent acquisition of AGA strengthens our foothold in the European residential market. You have been well known for giving back, what would you say to other CEOs and entrepreneurs? “Speed matters, whether it’s speed in execution, speed in gaining market share, or speed in bringing new products to market; but the most important speed is the velocity of goodness. Rush to be good. I would say to my fellow CEOs, even if it’s in a very small way, try to change the world.” Selim Bassoul has been a philanthropist and community activist for over 25 Q Q

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