Donnie Smith, former Tyson Foods CEO, named CEO at Foster Farms

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 6,232 views 

Former Tyson Foods CEO Donnie Smith

Donnie Smith, who retired as president and CEO of Springdale-based meat giant Tyson Foods in 2016, was named CEO of California-based poultry processor Foster Farms on Tuesday (June 7).

Atlas Holdings, a private equity firm in Connecticut, announced its acquisition of the previously family-owned company Tuesday.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

“I love the poultry industry and am proud that Atlas has asked me to become the CEO of Foster Farms,” Smith said in a news release. “I’ve long been an admirer of the Foster family and the business they’ve built over the past eight decades. In this new era, we will maintain and further that legacy, rooted in animal welfare, superior product quality, customer service and community engagement.”

The company, which generates revenues of approximately $3 billion annually, will continue to operate under the Foster Farms name.

Foster Farms employs about 10,000 workers in California, Washington, Louisiana, Oregon and Alabama. The operation is about one-tenth the size of Tyson Foods and only involves poultry, unlike Tyson Foods’ diversified protein business that includes pork, beef and prepared foods.

Atlas Holdings includes about 25 companies in various industries including aluminum processing, automotive, construction, food processing and distribution, printing and supply chain. The combined revenue for Atlas Holding is about $14.5 billion.

“We are thrilled to welcome Foster Farms to the Atlas family of great global businesses,” said partners Sam Astor, Ed Fletcher and Mike Sher. “We have a long history of partnering with proud family-owned companies to honor their past while driving additional operational, environmental and financial success for the next generation.”

Smith spent 36 years with Tyson Foods in roles spanning all business functions. He was named CEO in 2009.