Net Worth: $1.1 Billion
- Source of Wealth Chobani Inc.
- Birth Place Erzincan,Turkey
- Marital Status Divorced
- Full Name Hamdi Ulukaya
- Nationality Turkey
- Date of Birth 1972
- Occupation Founder, President and CEO of Chobani Inc.
- Education University of Ankara and University of Albany
About Hamdi Ulukaya
Turkish-American businessman Hamdi Ulukaya is the founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Chobani Inc. who has an estimated net worth of $1.1 billion as of March 2013. A new billionaire in the Forbes list, he is ranked 1268th and also the 36th richest person in Turkey.
Hamdi Ulukaya was born in 1972 to a Kurdish family who operated a dairy farm in Erzincan, Turkey. He took up political science at the University of Ankara then moved to the United States in 1994 and enrolled at the University of Albany in 1997.
In 2001, Ulukaya started Euphrates, a feta cheese company, in upstate New York when he followed his father’s advice. While working with Euphrates, he saw a for-sale ad for a Kraft Foods yogurt plant in a neighboring town. In 2005, he bought the plant located in South Edmeston, near Utica, and started perfecting the recipe for Greek-style yogurt. He then established the new company, Chobani (formerly Agro Farma), and the first order of the marketed “Greek Yogurt” was shipped in October 2007.
Since then, annual sales of Chobani have grown to nearly $1 billion. As of December 2012, Hamdi opened a new yogurt plant for $450 in Twin Falls, Idaho. He also purchased a dairy farm in Australia in the same year. He was named a member of The Business Review’s class of 2009 “40 Under 40.” He was also named the 2013 Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Of The Year.
In August 2012, he faced a lawsuit filed by his ex-wife, Dr. Alyse Giray. She claimed that she gave him money to start and expand his original business in exchange of a 53% stake. According to her, he used some of the funds to buy the yogurt factory which became Agro Farma, and later Chobani. He said that the lawsuit has no merit.