A Deep Dive into the Life of Francesco Saputo: 10 Things You Didn’t Know

Often, the personalities who bring about significant changes to industry and corporate landscapes remain behind the scenes. A story such as this is that of Francesco Saputo, the CEO of Saputo Inc. As someone who rarely gives interviews, backgrounds into his life and work may not be as apparent. So, let’s delve into 10 things you didn’t know about Francesco Saputo.

1. Birth and early life

Born on June 10th, 1952, in Sala Consilina, a town in southern Italy, Francesco Saputo’s journey to becoming a business tycoon is an example of the classic immigrant success story. The Saputo family, which included his father and seven siblings, moved to Canada when Francesco was 15 years old. Despite facing challenges in acclimating to a new culture and language, Saputo managed to lay the foundation for his future achievements.

Francesco Saputo was not born into luxury. His family was hard-working, fostering a mindset that greatly influenced Saputo’s approach to business and personal life. It was from his family he learned the very principles of business like hard work, respect for all and the value of money which he carries to this day.

2. Early start in the family business

Francesco Saputo started working in the family’s cheese business, Saputo Incorporated, at a young age. The business, set up in 1954, initially focused on making mozzarella for Montreal’s growing Italian community. As a teenager, Saputo worked on the production line making cheese. His early exposure to the business was an integral part of his growth and subsequent leadership of the company.

By 1988, Francesco Saputo became the president and Chief Executive Officer of the company, focusing on expansions beyond Quebec. His skills and foresight proved vital as the company’s revenue grew significantly under his leadership.

3. His leadership style

One of the lesser-known facts about Francesco Saputo is his people-centric leadership style. He is known to place an emphasis on his employees, often attributing the company’s success to their work. This trait is unique in the world of large-scale corporate CEOs, where one’s accomplishments are often downplayed.

Francesco’s leadership style reflects the foundations set by his family’s business. They embraced a hands-on approach, a tradition that was deeply imbued in him from the start. His instinct for business and keen eye for detail, combined with his respect for his workforce, greatly influenced Saputo Inc.’s corporate culture.

4. Football enthusiast

Francesco Saputo is not just recognized for his successful business ventures, but he’s also a well-known soccer enthusiast. He was central to bringing professional football (soccer) back to Montreal in 2011 as a major shareholder and chairman of the Montreal Impact, the local Major League Soccer (MLS) team.

Under his leadership, the Montreal Impact has seen considerable successes, including becoming the runner-up at the CONCACAF Champions League.

5. His net worth

Francesco Saputo has an estimated net worth of $5.60 billion, according to Forbes. With his leadership, Saputo Inc. has become one of the largest dairy processors in the world, establishing a significant industry presence in Canada, the United States, and Australia.

Despite his immense wealth, Saputo prefers to keep a low profile. He rarely indulges in public displays of wealth, opting instead to focus on the longevity and growth of his company.

Click here to know more about Francesco Saputo’s profile on Forbes

6. Philanthropist

Francesco Saputo is also well-known as a philanthropist. As passionate as he is about business, Saputo also deeply values giving back to the community. The Saputo family built the family foundation, Fondation de la Famille Saputo, in 1969, which supports various causes across Quebec.

Saputo greatly encourages corporate responsibility, and his company runs several initiatives aiming to promote a healthy lifestyle, including physical activity and healthy eating through various partnerships.

7. Love for Cars

Saputo has a deep-seated affinity for classic and luxury cars. A lesser-known aspect of this business magnate’s life, his collection reportedly includes a 1967 Lamborghini Miura P400 and a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO.

While not much is publicly known about his exact collection, it mirrors Saputo’s personality, his love for elegance, luxury, and precision – qualities that he also brings to his business.

8. Saputo Inc. Today

Under Francesco Saputo’s guidance, Saputo Inc. has grown to become one of the top ten dairy processors globally. The company currently employs over 17,000 people and operates around 65 manufacturing facilities worldwide.

Saputo Inc.’s products, which include cheese, fluid milk, and dairy ingredients, are sold in over 50 countries. The company’s operations have grown incredibly under Saputo’s leadership, transforming it into a worldwide dairy empire.

9. Impact of Covid-19

During the unprecedented times of the Covid-19 pandemic, Saputo was instrumental in leading the company effectively to minimize the impact. While the crisis presented new challenges, Saputo’s priorities remained focused on ensuring the safety of employees and maintaining its services without disruption.

Saputo Inc. was quick to implement safety measures across its operations. The solid leadership effectively ensured the business’s continuity, proving again that Saputo’s strength lies in successfully uniting the growth-oriented business approach with social responsibility.

10. Private Life

Despite his high profile, Francesco Saputo tends to lead a private life, avoiding the limelight unless necessary. Despite being one of the wealthiest billionaires in Canada, he is rarely seen or heard in the media, preferring instead to keep his professional and personal life separate.

His reticence often leaves many aspects of his life unknown. Yet, those who know him describe him as down-to-earth, humble, and focused, often attributing these traits to his early life experiences and family upbringing.

Click here to read more about Francesco Saputo’s Corporate Profile

In conclusion, Francesco Saputo remains a potent figure in the dairy industry, leading the family business to unprecedented heights. It is through his unwavering commitment, people-centric leadership style, visionary decisions, and humble approach that Saputo Inc. has become a global dairy empire. Yet, as extensive as his achievements are, he continues to remain an enigma in the world of corporate magnates.