Tyson Foods largest chicken competitor, Pilgrim’s Pride, announced a change in leadership as CEO Bill Lovette will be retiring effective immediately. The company said Jayson Penn will assume the role as president and CEO and Lovette will be available to provide strategic advisory services to the company through July 2020.
“The board is extremely grateful for Bill’s leadership, vision, dedication and commitment,” said Gilberto Tomazoni, chairman of Pilgrim’s board of directors, in a news release. “His legacy at Pilgrim’s will endure through the strong management team and unique business platform he developed, which will position the company for continued growth and success.”
Lovette has served in Pilgrim’s top post since January 2011 and is credited with helping grow the business from $6.9 billion to $10.9 billion in annual net revenue.
During his tenure as CEO, the company said, he oversaw the diversification of Pilgrim’s product and brand portfolio and expanded its footprint into Europe and in Mexico.
Prior to his work at Pilgrim’s, Lovette ran the chicken segment at Tyson Foods. He was replaced by Donnie Smith, who went on to become Tyson Foods CEO until his retirement three years ago.