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Meeting Tabasco’s new CEO Harold Osborn

Posted: 7:27 AM, Jun 13, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-13 09:23:44-04

Tabasco has practically been his middle name since newly named CEO Harold Osborn was eight years old.

He started out in the family company by punching the prices on canned goods and stocking shelves.

“One of my most prized possessions is my first paycheck which was fifty cents an hour,” says Osborn. “I worked the whole summer and I made fifty dollars.”

From hauling barrels of aging hot sauce to business management, since that first summer, Osborn has worked in just about every job on Avery Island. He’s seen the McIlhenny Company expand while sticking to its homegrown roots.

“We follow the same recipe that my great-great-grandfather did 150 years ago,” Osborn adds.

And he doesn’t just mean the hot sauce recipe. The Tabasco brand was built on tradition and family. The company has grown to reach almost 200 countries, but it maintains less than 300 close-knit employees.

“We’re one big family out here. We don’t just consider family being the McIlhenny family,” says Osborn. “It’s the people that work here. We have people that are second, third and fourth generation workers.”

Like his predecessors, Osborn plans to be hands-on in his new role.

“I’ve known a lot of the presidents from being a youngster here. It wasn’t a lot of talk, it was a lot of action,” he says.

Osborn will even continue the task of tasting each batch of Tabasco Brand hot sauce before and even more so after production.

Osborn is the great-great-grandson of Tabasco’s founder, Edmund Mcilhenny. He succeeds Anthony Simmons, who is retiring from the family business after 19 years with the company.