Chobani has denied suggestions chairman and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya is being pushed out of the company, with the yoghurt maker insisting its founder is leading the search for a new chief executive.
Reports have suggested TPG Capital, the private-equity firm that last year invested US$750m into Chobani, is on the hunt for a successor to Ulukaya.
The New York Post quoted sources who claimed Chobani was under-performing financially. The sources cited the impact of a product recall in 2013 and the construction of a facility in Idaho. Sources told the publication Ulukaya, who founded Chobani in 2005, could even lose his position as chairman.
Kevin Burns, an executive from TPG who became Chobani’s president and COO last year, is said to be a leading candidate to replace Ulukaya.
However, speaking to just-food, a spokesperson for Chobani rejected the claims. The spokesperson confirmed Chobani is on the look-out for a new CEO but insisted Ulukaya is in fact “leading the search” for his replacement.
Chobani insists Ulukaya has the “final decision” on who is appointed as CEO. While “several candidates” are in mind for the position – including Burns – a spokesperson refused to disclose further information about the list.
just-food understands Ulukaya will retain his post as chairman once a new CEO that is “operationally-focused” is appointed to work alongside him.
In a statement, Chobani added: “We’ve had an active, operationally based CEO search underway to partner with our founder and owner and, while we have several exciting, qualified candidates, no decision has been made.”