First international inductee, Joey Saputo is a Canadian businessman and President of the Montreal Impact soccer team, which he founded in 1993.
Before entering the sports world, Saputo began his business career in 1985 with Saputo Inc., a dairy processing company founded in 1954 by his father, Emanuele “Lino” Saputo. Working his way up the ladder, he was promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer of the Dairy Products Division for the United States five years later. After occupying various positions within the organization, he was named Senior Vice President of Commercial and Business Development in January 2004. Three years later, Saputo left the family business–with his older brother Lino A. Saputo, Jr., still serving as CEO and President— in order to dedicate more time to his holding company, Free2Be and, more importantly, The Montreal Impact.
When the Impact was originally founded, the Saputo Group was the team’s sole owner; however, under Saputo’s leadership in 1999, the club was sold to a group of shareholders. Three years later, the team was incorporated as a non-profit organization, with Saputo instrumental in the re-launch of the club. Following the re-launch, Saputo took the reins as President and spearheaded the construction of Saputo Stadium, the team’s new home, inaugurated at Olympic Park, Montreal in 2008. The club entered Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2012 & oversaw an expansion to the Saputo Stadium. Under his leadership, the Impact won three championships and advanced the popularity of professional soccer to unprecedented heights in Quebec.
Actively involved in the Montreal community, Saputo serves on the boards of the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre Foundation, PROCURE, an organization that seeks to prevent and cure prostate cancer, and the Italian-Canadian Community Foundation. Saputo is the proud father of four sons.