Babson Welcomes C. Dean Metropoulos ’67, MBA’68 into the Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs®
In early November, Babson welcomed double-alumnus C. Dean Metropoulos ’67, MBA’68, back to campus! Mr. Metropoulos, executive chairman and CEO of Metropoulos & Company, a boutique acquisition and management firm, was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs®! His company has transformed more than 80 global organizations and brands, including Pabst Brewing Company and Hostess Brands. He and his family are active philanthropists; last year, Mr. and Mrs. Metropoulos signed The Giving Pledge, committing 80% of their estate to philanthropic causes. Mr. Metropoulos’ exemplary integrity, compassion, and entrepreneurial leadership make us even more excited that he is the newest member of the Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs®!
At the induction event, Mr. Metropoulos told the crowd how proud he is of his Babson alumnus status. He admits that his parents made a huge difference in his journey because they gave him confidence and love without burdening him with their expectations. His career began as an analyst for GTE International, a company now owned by Verizon. Mr. Metropoulos remembers that period of his life as very exciting and entrepreneurial. At age 25, he became the VP of Finance for GTE’s Europe division. He shared how his love of history and his relationships around the world are at the core of his love for business.
When private equity was emerging as something truly special, Mr. Metropoulos wanted to get involved. At the age of 32, his first acquisition was a cheese company in Vermont. The company was very successful. In fact, after some time, he controlled almost all the cheese companies in the United States. Mr. Metropoulos sold the cheese business, started a career in private equity, and has now been involved in 82 companies around the world.
His family plays a large role in Metropoulos & Co. His two sons have participated in the business since they were 14, and Mr. Metropoulos credits them for providing him new perspectives. As a team, they bought the company that owned Chef Boyardee and completely turned the brand around. Conagra bought the company when they went public. Marketing was key in making that brand, as well as Pabst and others, exciting again.
Other than marketing, his brands have been successful because of their focus on discipline. Mr. Metropoulos introduced systems that drive decisions and hold the organization accountable. He would tell employees to come in with results rather than excuses. This combination of marketing and accountability has proven successful again and again. While things have not always worked as expected, Mr. Metropoulos and his team always knew how to redirect the business. In his eyes, the most important strategy for success is to build a culture of hunger, accountability, and results-orientation within the business. By changing the management team’s culture, you can quickly improve the business’ operations.
Mr. Metropoulos spoke about how he wants to become more involved with philanthropic causes moving forward. Big problems facing the U.S. are the education system and the opioids epidemic. While Mr. Metropoulos enjoys seeing results, he knows that these are long-term problems that are important to continue working on. Something else dear to him is the population’s impact on the globe. He shared some statistics. In 1805 the world had a billion people; in 1930 there were 2 billion people; in 1965, 3 billion. Today, there are 7.6 billion people in the world. In 35 years, there will be 9.5 billion people. With modern technology, people are living significantly longer and using more resources throughout their lifetime. Nature’s most magnificent gift to us is the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Today, 42% of the original forest is gone and that number is rapidly increasing. Glaciers around the world are melting; 60% of the Himalayan glaciers are gone. Deserts are expanding incredibly quickly. Overall, the world is changing. Technology has made life easier but we are still facing the challenges of inadequate education and diminishing resources. These are issues that Mr. Metropoulos wants to commit a big part of his life to going forward.
Before the end of his speech, Mr. Metropoulos thanked the audience again. He is an incredible addition to Babson’s already outstanding Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs® and we look forward to seeing how he continues to change the world!