LAVAL, Quebec--Lino Saputo, founder of the cheese empire that bares his name, is retiring and will hand the reins over to his son, Lino Jr.
At an annual meeting last month, the senior Saputo said his son will take full control of the company within the coming 12 months. The company also reported that first quarter profits rose 11.6%.
The younger Saputo, currently president of the U.S. cheese division, will assume the position of president and chief executive, while his father will remain as chairman.
The 37-year-old son is taking on a healthy company. Operating profits have grown on average by 30.5% a year since it went public five years ago, despite a recently slumping cheese market and low prices. Saputo reported profits of $46.1 million or 45 cents a share for the first quarter of fiscal 2004, which ended June 30. That was 11.6% higher than the $41.3 million, or 40 cents a share last year.