Selim Bassoul – the man responsible for turning the Middleby Corporation into a global foodservice equipment force through a relentless acquisition strategy – is retiring from his role as chairman, president and CEO.
Mr Bassoul said he plans to focus on his family and his humanitarian efforts through his Bassoul Dignity Foundation, but will continue to serve as a consultant to the Middleby board.
CFO Timothy FitzGerald, who has served with the company for more than 20 years, will replace him at the helm of the company.
Mr Bassoul said: “This is the right time for me personally to transition to the next generation of leadership. Middleby is well-positioned for the future with a strong team and a solid foundation. I am blessed to have worked with a dedicated board of directors that allowed us to implement our strategy.”
He said it had been an honor to be associated with the company for more than 23 years and was thankful for the many personal relationships he had the pleasure of building with customers, employees and others in the industry over the years.
“My heartfelt appreciation goes out to each of our 10,000 employees around the world for their support and unwavering commitment to customer care and innovation,” he said.
Under Mr Bassoul’s watch, the Middleby Corporation’s turnover has rocketed from $100m to almost $3 billion, while its market cap has swelled from $40m to $7 billion.
It now owns more than 70 brands, with Mr Bassoul sanctioning some of the biggest acquisition deals that the industry has ever seen over the past two decades, including the takeover of companies such as Lincat, Follett, Josper, Sveba Dahlen and Taylor.
The company’s new chairman of the board, Gordon O’Brien, said: “On behalf of the entire Board, I want to thank Selim for his inspired leadership of Middleby over the past 18 years. Under his direction, Middleby transformed its business portfolio, expanded globally and enhanced its position as a leading manufacturer of commercial, residential and food processing equipment and we wish him the best in his retirement.”
Middleby believes that his replacement, Mr FitzGerald, is the ideal candidate to take over having worked closely with Mr Bassoul for 20 years.
He is credited with being an architect of the Middleby business strategy and has led the acquisition efforts, developing three industry-leading platforms through multiple brand acquisitions.