Industry: Food production
Company: Fresh Del Monte
Designation: Chairman and CEO
Country: US (Palestine)
When Mohammad Abu Ghazaleh decided to buy US tropical fruits giant Fresh Del Monte in 1996, eyebrows were raised.
Not only was the firm saddled with $300m in bad debt, it also suffered from its association with UK-based Asil Nadir, whose Polly Peck conglomerate had bought the business shortly before the tycoon fled for Cyprus. After Polly Peck collapsed, Fresh Del Monte was bought by Mexican businessman Carlos Cabal, who also became a fugitive in his own country after accusations of embezzling $700m from his own banks. However, Abu Ghazaleh set a new tone for ethical behaviour at the firm, taking time out to visit each of Del Monte’s worldwide locations and spearheading a turnaround in performance. Despite worldwide economic problems in the past few years, Fresh Del Monte’s bottom-line profits and profit margins have improved every year since the end of 2010. The firm spent 2012 aggressively growing its market share and is now the largest branded fresh-cut food supplier in the US.
Palestinian-born Abu Ghazaleh, the oldest of nine children, also serves as a director of Jordan Kuwait Bank, International General Insurance Co, United Cable Co Inc, Bank Misr Liban and Amwal Invest.