Selim Bassoul steps down as CEO of The Middleby Corporation

Bassoul, who has steered the company's market cap from $40m to $7bn, will focus on his Bassoul Dignity Foundation

The Middleby Corporation has announced Selim Bassoul is retiring from his role as chairman, president and CEO. Timothy FitzGerald, the company’s CFO since 2003, has been named as Bassoul’s successor and a member of the board of directors.

David Brewer has been promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer, while Bryan Mittelman, chief accounting officer, will replace FitzGerald as CFO. Gordon O’Brien, who has served as lead independent director of the Middleby Board since 2010, has been named chairman of the board.

The news was announced yesterday (19 February), by The Middleby Corporation, but with changes made effective as of 16 February 2019.

In announcing his retirement, Bassoul plans to “focus on his family and his humanitarian efforts” through his Bassoul Dignity Foundation. He will also continue to serve as a consultant to the The Middleby Corporation board.

The acquisition trail

In his 23-year tenure with the company, Bassoul has overseen turnover soar from $100m to almost $3bn, while market capitalisation has grown from $40m to $7bn. Bassoul spearheaded an aggressive acquisition strategy that has seen The Middleby Corporation own more than 70 brands, including huge deals in the last year alone for EVO America Inc., Crown Food Service Equipment, Ltd., Taylor Company (for $1.0bn) and Josper S.A.

“It has been an honor to be associated with this outstanding company for more than 23 years,” said Bassoul in a statement. “I am grateful for the team we created and their commitment to the execution of our vision. I am thankful for the many personal relationships I have 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.

“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. I fully support Tim, Dave and Bryan in their new roles and I am confident that they will excel in their new positions.”

Inspired leadership

O’Brien thanked Bassoul for ” his inspired leadership” of the company. “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,” he said.

“Many in the industry know Tim well, as he has worked closely with Selim over the past two decades. Tim has been an architect of the Middleby business strategy and has led the acquisition efforts, developing three industry-leading platforms through more than 70 brand acquisitions. We are confident Tim, Dave and the entire management team will continue to move Middleby forward and we expect a seamless transition.”

FitzGerald praised the work of his colleagues, saying :”Together we have built a truly unique company of leading brands, technologies, capabilities and people. We have achieved success over the years through organic growth, international expansion, innovative engineering and strategic acquisitions. Under Selim’s leadership, we have established a strong and lasting culture of innovation and customer focus. I am honored to serve as CEO and continue the journey with Dave, Bryan, Martin and our very dedicated management team.”

Michael Jones

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