Tyson Foods fires international group boss; China halts some U.S. pork imports

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 5,044 views 

Chris Langholz, the international group president for Tyson Foods since November 2019, was fired on Friday, Aug. 26, effective immediately, according to a filing the Springdale-based meat giant made Monday (Aug. 29) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

A spokesman from Tyson Foods confirmed Langholz is no longer with Tyson Foods and said the company does not discuss personnel matters. The company has not answered questions about an interim leader for the international division.

Langholz was based in Singapore, and his total compensation in 2021 was more than $5.289 million making him one of the company’s five highest-paid executives. Before joining Tyson Foods in late 2019, Langholz spent roughly 25 years at Cargill, where he ran poultry businesses in China and the Asia Pacific region. Prior to that, he was regional director for the U.S. Grains Council in Malaysia.

Tyson has moved to grow the international protein business for the past few years with investments and operations in more than 10 countries. Tyson Foods CEO Donnie King recently said the world’s population is projected to reach 10 billion people by 2050, with global demand for protein expected to double in that period.

“Through our growing international footprint, we’re pursuing every option to ensure customers and consumers have access to more – and more kinds – of protein, wherever they live,” King said.

Tyson’s international business has operations in China, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia, United Kingdom, Netherlands and the rest Europe. Tyson also has a minority interest in businesses in Brazil and India. In fiscal 2021, Tyson Foods reported international sales growth of 7.5% to $1.99 billion with an adjusted operating income of $24 million, up from $2 million the previous year. Through three quarters of fiscal 2022, the segment posted revenue of $1.717 billion, up 7.2% year over year. However, adjusted segment income declined to $19 million, from $23 million reported in the prior year.

Tyson Foods shares traded lower on Monday as the company also confirmed China has suspended some meat imports from U.S. processing plants because of failed inspections of pigs feet that were said to contain traces of ractopamine, a feed additive used in the U.S. but banned by China.

Analysts at Rabobank said the Tyson suspension shouldn’t have much impact on the meat trade between the two countries, with many U.S. plants eligible to export to China, but it does come at a time when Chinese buyers may be considering more pork purchases from overseas markets.

Shares of Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN) were trading at $77.78 in the morning session on Monday. The price was down 53 cents from the opening. The stock has traded between $74.43 and $100.72 over the past 52 weeks.