About Selim Bassoul

biography

Biography

Selim A. Bassoul (born February 3, 1957) is Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of The Middleby Corporation, a leading developer and manufacturer of commercial cooking equipment and food processing/packaging equipment. Appointed as of January 1, 2001, Bassoul is responsible for the strategic direction of the company and leading the senior management team.

EARLY LIFE
Born to Antoine Bassoul, a former Olympic athlete who competed for Lebanon at the 1948 Games in London, and Souad, Selim grew up in Beirut, Lebanon.

As a child, Bassoul was educated by the Jesuits at Notre Dame de Jamhour in Beirut. He struggled with severe dyslexia, which left him at the bottom of his class. In a time when
the condition was not yet recognized, it was only his outstanding performance in the cross country running championships each year that ensured he kept his place in class.

When Beirut fell into civil war in 1975, the family faced many struggles and fear of persecution. At the time, Bassoul was 17, old enough to witness and understand the tough times ahead.

Bassoul remained committed to excelling while the civil war was still raging. He focused on his studies, and went on to achieve the highest grades in his class when he left school. He was adamant on making his way to the United States to study business and become an entrepreneur.

EDUCATION
In 1979 Bassoul graduated from the American University of Beirut, where he received a BA in Business Administration, with distinction and was the recipient of the David Dodge Scholar Award.

After working for Ernst & Young (Whinney Murray, at the time) in the Middle East, Bassoul moved to the United States to continue his postgraduate education at the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management where he earned an M.B.A. in Finance and Marketing and a Certificate in Accounting.

EARLY CAREER
Bassoul started off in the healthcare industry. He worked for American Hospital Supply and Baxter Healthcare in various positions including mergers and acquisitions, corporate planning and regional director in the Middle East and Africa.

Then, entering the foodservice industry in 1986, he spent the next eight years in commercial food equipment for Premark, Inc., a unit of Illinois Tool Works, as Director of Marketing, General Manager of the Cook-Chill division and Vice President of Sales for the Vulcan Cooking Division.

MIDDLEBY
Bassoul first joined The Middleby Corporation in 1996 as President of the company’s Southbend division. In 1999, he became Chief Operating Officer of The Middleby Corporation.
On January 1, 2001, Bassoul was appointed CEO of The Middleby Corporation, and is now one of the longest serving CEOs of a US publicly listed company. His tenure has seen him turn a struggling, unfocussed firm with a market capitalization of $15 million in 2000 into a global powerhouse worth $5.5 billion and with over 40 of some of the most respected brands in the business, including Jade, Viking, Blodgett, Pitco, Beech Ovens, Lincat and TurboChef.

INNOVATIONS IN ENERGY
Back in 2000, Bassoul and his team transformed Middleby into a technology company. At that time only two companies were working on energy efficiency, Toyota with the hybrid Prius car and Middleby with the introduction of the WOW! Oven. Today, Middleby has the most ENERGY STAR® rated commercial kitchen appliances on the market.

INNOVATIONS IN VENTILATION
Bassoul led the trend in green design with ventless technologies, including appliances that don’t need the traditional commercial kitchen ventilation hood. Under Bassoul’s direction, Middleby engineers were able to eliminate the need for hoods in restaurant kitchens and their negative impact on the ozone and the environment. Today, due to technologies spearheaded by Middleby, many commercial kitchens are vent-free. Many of the Middleby brands benefited from this technology, including TurboChef, Pitco and Star.

INNOVATIONS IN WATER
Restaurants are the largest consumers of water. Based on this, Middleby was the first to develop equipment to reduce water consumption in restaurants. Equipment including Turbochef waterless steamers and CookTek Incognito holding tables both steam without water. In 2014 alone, Middleby saved customers more than 1.4 billion gallons of water. By 2020, the goal is to reduce water consumption in the U.S. by more than 10 billion gallons annually.

Today, serving all food segments globally, the Elgin, Illinois-based group ranks number one worldwide in the pizza chain, convenience store, fast casual and casual dining sectors. In QSR, its brands have the second largest presence globally.

Having experienced a 20% average growth in international revenues over the past five years, in November 2014 Middleby was added to the annual Fortune Fastest-Growing Companies list, the third-best performing industrial company on the list. It has also been listed as one of Forbes ‘Best performing public companies’ every year since 2004.

In 2014 Middleby acquired Concordia, Market Forge, U-Line, Desmon and Goldstein Eswood, but even without the impact of those acquisitions the business still grew by 11%.

For Bassoul, the success of the business is attributable to a few key factors: ensuring that Middleby products stay ahead of the curve, getting a highly de-centralized management structure in place and building the right team by focusing on the characteristics he demands from his 4,500 employees.

biography

Philanthropy

Philanthropy is his Passion. Selim has been a philanthropist and community activist for more than 25 years, acting both locally and globally. He was recently recognized at the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year event in June 2015 for his global contributions in philanthropy and “Reshaping the World.”

For this recognition, Selim and Middleby collaborated with Entrepreneurs Without Borders on a multi-national project addressing the global refugee crisis. In response to the needs of 50 million refugees in the world, Middleby developed a stove for refugees which is extremely intuitive, affordable and highly patented. It has a magnifying glass that acts as a solar panel, so beyond cooking the appliance can purify water and charge a cell phone through heat transfer, not using electricity. The goal is to free the lives of women and girls by allowing them to find time to go to school and find decent employment instead of spending hours searching for wood to cook.

In 2016, after returning to the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year event he was given an award for the stove and his continuing philanthropic efforts.
BASSOUL DIGNITY FOUNDATION
But it was his aunt, Yvonne Bassoul, who impressed upon Bassoul the importance of acting with significant compassion and heart.

Yvonne Bassoul was a nun in Lebanon who created orphanages around the Middle East. Famed for helping a huge number of impoverished people, particularly during the civil war, without discrimination against religion or race, her kindness and ceaseless devotion left a huge impression on Bassoul.

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Yvonne Bassoul

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In 2014, he established the Bassoul Dignity Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides resources and skills to give young adults and displaced people a second chance in life.

ACHIEVEMENTS & AWARDS
Bassoul has been the recipient of many honors including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) International Legacy Award.

Outside his career, his achievements include Contributing Editor, Journal of Business Strategy, speaker on global marketing at the Conference Board, developer of the Riskette financial modeling system, and Exsys software for international distribution.

Outside his career, his achievements include Contributing Editor, Journal of Business Strategy, speaker on global marketing at the Conference Board, developer of the Riskette financial modeling system, and Exsys software for international distribution.

He also spends time as a speaker and motivator, regularly addressing professionals and students around the world.

Our Story

I grew up in Beirut, Lebanon to become one of the most successful CEO’s in the world; one of the very few Middle Eastern immigrants to hold this position.

I have been a community activist and philanthropist for over 25 years. My commitment to social justice and to helping others lead a better life has been a constant in my life. How we operate as adults often boils down to how we feel about ourselves as kids.

I grew up in a caring family where we lived with parents and grandparents and cousins under one roof. We did not have much money, but our home was always open for neighbors and friends to stop by for a meal. I recall that our dining room was a communal table where we sat down feeding others and us at all times. Our door was always open for all.

Then the civil war broke up in 1975 and I was 17 year old then, my family faced many struggles and fear of persecution. I promised myself that I will never be poor again. I wanted to go to America to study business and to become an entrepreneur. I did not have any dreams of becoming a CEO, that’s just fate and life and God’s will. There are a lot of people who think that their success is completely a function of their talent, luck and following your instincts play a huge role.
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Whether you make an impact in 1 or in 30 years, it does not matter. You have to put your foot in the water and start the process.
Refugees have been deprived of their homes, but they must not be deprived of their futures. Ban Ki-moon
We, at the Bassoul Dignity Foundation believe in the right of every person on this planet to live with dignity. The people who are outcast are the ones who need the most support. We have to lift their spirits, make sure they feel wanted because if you lose that there is nothing left.
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@Baron Funds Investment Conference

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Whether you make an impact in 1 or in 30 years, it does not matter. You have to put your foot in the water and start the process.

America has a noble tradition of the businessman who makes his fortune and then devotes his time and energy to public service, whether in government or philanthropy. I saw the struggles of my parents and neighbors and I wanted to make a difference in the future. I built the kind of company that reflects my goals and giving back to the community and to do the society. Not everything is a financial decision it is incumbent on business and business leaders to do more. Business people are responsible not to shareholders, employees and customers, but to build a better world.
@EY PANEL Entrepreneurs Without Borders

Mission & Vision

The Bassoul Dignity Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides resources and skills to give young adults and displaced people a second chance in life.
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We believe that every person on this planet is born with the right to live with dignity. In turn, the people who are outcast are the ones who need the most support. We have to lift their spirits and make sure they feel wanted; because if they lose that there is nothing left and they lose hope.

Where people have been treated as unwanted, our goal is to educate them to help them stand up and write their own path with dignity.
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The Power Of Collaboration

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