Poultry first priority for Tyson Foods

12-01-2009 | |
Poultry first priority for Tyson Foods

Leland Tollet (71), Tyson Foods’ interim CEO, has told employees that improving the poultry business of Tyson will be his first priority.

Tollet returned as CEO to lead the company just five days ago after former CEO Richard Bond resigned.

In a presentation to Tyson employees on Friday, Tollett said the chicken division is being streamlined and eliminating a limited number of corporate positions, though no major layoffs are planned.
Tollett said the company’s beef, pork, international and renewable products divisions are all solid businesses that will continue to operate as usual, while he focused on reviving chicken profits.
A news release was short on specifics. Analysts anticipate the Springdale-based meat giant will likely cut production, a 180-degree turnaround from the strategy followed in 2008, when poultry losses totalled $118 million.
Ironically, poultry processing margins have improved in the past few weeks – as predicted – from production cuts already made across the industry from other players.
The interim CEO said that he would stay at this position as long as it takes. He told the group, “I’m not sure if I will be here three months or three years, but I certainly hope it’s closer to three months.”
The company also said it intends to hire a permanent CEO as soon as possible and that the board of directors is focusing on internal candidates.
The board chairman and other board members will work with senior managers in evaluating candidates, the company said.