Tyson Foods Brings On Tom Hayes as New CEO

November 22, 2016

2 Min Read
Tyson Foods Brings On Tom Hayes as New CEO
Image courtesy of Tyson Foods

Tyson Foods announced Monday that its chief executive officer Donnie Smith was stepping down and named its president, Tom Hayes, as his successor. The event coincided with the company’s release of a poor profit forecast for 2017 that dropped shares

Multiple national news organizations reported that shares of Tyson Foods stock plummeted by over 14% after the Springdale, AR-based food giant said its profits in 2017 would be lower than anticipated. Revenue slipped by 13% in the fourth quarter to $9.16 billion, lower than the $9.38 forecasted by analysts, reported The Wall Street Journal.

“Smith’s departure surprised some on Wall Street, who regard him as the company’s most successful CEO,” a Reuters article said, noting that shares of Tyson quadrupled since Smith became the company’s CEO in 2009.

“The Board’s decision to name Tom [Hayes] CEO at this time was based on both his track record and how his skills align with the company’s strategic direction and continuing evolution,” said chairman of Tyson Foods’ board of directors, Jason Tyson, in a statement.

An unnamed source “familiar with the matter” told The Wall Street Journal that Hayes was being groomed to assume Smith’s role, and that the process was sped up as a result of the reported poor profit outlook for 2017. A Tyson spokesperson told the Journal that the timing of the power change “was not specifically driven by any event.”

In a report to investors on Monday, Tyson Foods said it is investing $1 billion in capital expenditures during the fiscal year 2017, from facilities improvements and upgrades to operational improvements.

“We are investing in initiatives such as improved worker safety, food safety, animal well-being, warehouse and distribution optimization and attracting and retaining talent throughout our company,” outgoing CEO Smith said in a press release. “These investments will pay off in the coming years through, among other things, improved costs and reduced turnover.”

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