Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., a worldwide leader in poultry and prepared foods, announced March 22 that its board of directors has approved the appointment of Jayson Penn, current president of Pilgrim’s USA, to succeed Bill Lovette, who is retiring from the position of president and chief executive officer of Pilgrim’s Pride.
Lovette will remain available to provide strategic advisory services to the company through July 2020, Pilgrim’s said.
“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, 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 is extremely grateful for Bill’s leadership, vision, dedication and commitment,” Tomazoni added. “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 was appointed president and CEO in January 2011 and, during his tenure, led a period of value creation for the company and its shareholders, growing the business from $6.9 billion to $10.9 billion in annual net revenue, according to the announcement. Over the last eight years, Lovette helped establish Pilgrim’s as a leading global food company by building a diversified portfolio of brands and on-trend products, extending the company’s footprint to the U.K. and Europe, significantly expanding its presence in Mexico, investing in operations and increasing margins and bottom-line profitability by partnering with key customers to create shared success.
Penn will assume the position of president and CEO immediately, the company said.
As an accomplished executive with more than 30 years of experience, Penn grew up in the poultry industry, beginning in his family’s poultry company. He joined Pilgrim’s in March 2011 and has served as senior vice president of the Commercial Business Group, executive vice president of sales and operations and, most recently, as president of Pilgrim’s USA. Prior to Pilgrim’s, Penn served in management positions at several leading poultry companies.
Pilgrim’s employs approximately 52,100 people and operates chicken processing plants and prepared foods facilities in 14 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the U.K. and continental Europe.