No explanation given for sudden departure of CEO of O.K. Foods

by The City Wire staff ( 186 views 

O.K. Foods is under new leadership after the resignation of CEO Paul Fox, but the company is keeping quiet as to why Fox may have left the company.

Donna Miller of O.K. Foods confirmed in a telephone call with The City Wire that Fox had resigned from the company, but declined to provide details or the date his resignation became effective.

"If there is anything to be said, I'm sure someone will call you back," she said Wednesday (Feb. 26). "I can't make a statement on any of that. I was just told that he resigned. I'm not privy to any of that."

According to Fox's LinkedIn profile, he came to O.K. Foods in January 2012 after serving for nine months as managing director of Sao Paulo, Brazil-based Marfrig Group, one of the world's largest meat producers, and president and CEO of Dickinson Frozen Foods for about four years.

With Fox's departure, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Trent Goins has been promoted to president and CEO of the company, according to his LinkedIn profile. Goins' father if former O.K. Industries CEO Randy Goins.

Goins started his career at O.K. Foods as a management trainee in January 2003 before becoming a regional sales manager in January 2005, a position he held for four years. During that time, he has served on the board of the National Chicken Council and the Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri Poultry Federation. Goins is currently an executive committee member of the National Chicken Council.

Prior to joining O.K. Foods, Goins was a legislative assistant for agriculture and trade policy in the office of former U.S. Rep. Marion Berry, D-Gillett.

The Fort Smith-based O.K. Foods was founded in the 1930s as a feed manufacturer, according to the company's website. It eventually moved into processed poultry in the 1950s before opening a state of the art research and development facility in the 1990s.

On Nov. 11, 2011, Celaya, Mexico-based Industrias Bachoco, itself a poultry producer, closed a deal to acquire O.K. Foods and its more than 3,000 U.S.-based employees. The deal, estimated at $93.4 million, made the combined company the third largest chicken producer in North America, according to O.K. Foods.

Fox came to Dickinson after a 17 year tenure at Tyson Foods that included stints as vice president of international operations and vice president of processed meats operations. It was during his tenure as vice president of international operations that Fox and several other Tyson executives were reported to have come under investigation for alleged bribery, according to a June 2011 article in The New York Times.

The Times article detailed memos that alleged possible payments in order to keep inspectors at Tyson's Mexican plants  "from making problems." Investigations by the United States Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission followed, though no charges were ever filed against Fox or any of the other Tyson executives who were investigated.

Additional phone calls and e-mails to O.K. Foods seeking comment for this story were not returned.