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Jayson Penn named as Pilgrim’s Pride CEO as Bill Lovette retires

March 25, 2019
Food & Drink

JBS-owned chicken processor Pilgrim’s Pride has appointed Jayson Penn as its new CEO with immediate effect.

Penn, who was previously president of Pilgrim’s USA, succeeds Bill Lovette, who is retiring from his role but will remain available to provide advisory services to the company until July 2020.

Joining Pilgrim’s in March 2011, Penn has also served as senior vice president of the commercial business group and executive vice president of sales and operations. He has served on the board of directors and the executive committee of the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council and currently serves on the board and executive committee of the National Chicken Council and the board of directors of The World Poultry Foundation.

“Jayson Penn has enjoyed a distinguished career in the poultry industry and has played an integral role in the success of Pilgrim’s over the last eight years,” said Gilberto Tomazoni, Pilgrim’s Pride chairman of the board of directors.

“Since joining the company in March 2011, Jayson has exemplified the leadership qualities, passion to succeed and business acumen that make him the ideal candidate to assume this role. The board’s decision is further validation of the Pilgrim’s strategy, implemented in 2012, to create a unique, diversified portfolio across multiple geographies, with a focus on key customers and operational excellence, to generate more consistent and higher margins. Jayson has been at the forefront of this strategy and we are confident in his ability to continue to create shareholder value.

Jayson Penn said: “I am humbled that the board has given me the opportunity to serve as Pilgrim’s CEO. Pilgrim’s has been on a remarkable journey of growth, building a strong culture of empowerment and providing our customers and consumers with high-quality, innovative solutions that allow them to thrive. We are a global team of more than 52,000, unified in mission and purpose, and I am excited to help guide our team in the next steps of our journey.

Lovette was appointed Pilgrim’s CEO in January 2011 and during his tenure led a period of unprecedented value creation for the company, growing the business from $6.9 billion to $10.9 billion in annual net revenue.

The company said that over the last eight years he has extended the company’s footprint to the UK and Europe, significantly expanding its presence in Mexico.

Tomazoni added: “The board is extremely grateful for Bill’s leadership, vision, dedication and commitment. 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.”

In 2017, Pilgrim’s Pride announced a deal to acquire Northern Ireland-based poultry producer Moy Park from JBS for £1 billion.

By Jules Scully

Source: FoodBev

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