An entrepreneur
of pride

Lino Saputo in the early 1980s.

Photo credit : Saputo family personal archives

Always do better

Lino Saputo developed a singular philosophy that would guide him throughout his career :

Even if I did something well, I always wanted to do better.


Lino took over the reins of the company in 1969. Surrounded by a strong team, he continued to expand and diversify its operations, first on a local scale and then internationally. He acquired numerous manufacturing plants and developed his own national distribution network to keep up with his rapidly growing company. By the 1980s, Saputo had become the largest mozzarella producer in Canada. In 1984, Lino made the bold move of buying a processing plant that transformed the whey resulting from cheese production. He was alone in believing in the profitability of this facility, but resolutely pursued his vision. The plant was a major success and quickly took off.

Usine Saputo

1988 Saputo established its presence in the U.S. with the acquisition of two cheese plants.

Photo credit : Saputo Inc. archives

Lino Saputo (1960)

Lino Saputo in a production facility

Photo credit : Saputo Inc. archives

In 1988, the company acquired two cheese plants in the U.S. Next, the entrepreneur set his sights on entering the fluid milk market. To that end, he acquired Crémerie des Trois-Rivières Ltée. In 1997, Saputo completed its initial public offering on the Canadian market. In 2001, the company acquired Dairyworld Foods, thus becoming the number one player in the Canadian milk processing industry. Saputo continued to expand its presence in the local and global markets through its acquisitions. In the end, Lino’s decision to always do better was a wise one.

Clip from Lino Saputo’s interview, Cercle des Grands entrepreneurs du Québec — only available in French

Cultivating a sense of belonging

Since the beginning, family values have been the heartbeat of the company’s culture. Saputo’s history started with Lino’s parents and continues today with his sons, Joey and Lino Jr. These family values are shared by all company employees. Lino treats them with the utmost respect. The way he sees it, his employees work with him and not for him. He regularly visits his plants and takes time to get to know each and everyone in the organization.

Clip from Lino Saputo’s interview, Cercle des Grands entrepreneurs du Québec — only available in French

My father wanted to do more than provide work for people, he wanted people to grow within our company.

LINO A. SAPUTO JR., President and Chief Executive Officer

Inspired by their father, Lino’s sons joined the family business. Lino believed that Lino Junior would make an apt successor at the head of the company. He proposed several names to the Board of Directors, including his son’s. Surrounded by skilled people, he knew they would make the right choice. In 2004, following an interview process, Lino A. Saputo Junior was named President and Chief Executive Officer. The day powers were handed over, Lino gave his son just one instruction :

You must continue to manage the company on a daily basis by always improving it. You must never change the company culture. You must hold our employees in high regard and perpetuate the family culture.