US – Tyson Foods, the world’s second largest processor of beef, poultry and pork, has promoted its current chief operations officer Donnie King to the position of President and CEO.

Donnie King will succeed Dean Banks who the meat processor said is stepping down from the company and board “for personal reasons”.

Banks took the CEO job in October, just as Tyson was rebounding from the coronavirus outbreak that forced the company to shut several plants when workers got sick.

Banks was formerly a project lead and on the leadership team at the Google division X, and was seen as an asset with Tyson installing more automation and artificial intelligence inside its plants.

“Upon deep personal reflection, and discussions with my family, the board, and my colleagues, I believe that stepping down and concentrating on my family is the right decision at this time,” Banks said in the statement.

King, 59, first joined Tyson in 1982 and rose to lead the poultry business at the top U.S. chicken producer, before leaving in 2017.

He returned to the company last September, raising speculation that he was a CEO-in-waiting.

King is a commodities veteran, and the choice of an executive who’s well-versed in agricultural markets suggests that the company’s board is moving away from outside leadership as it emerges from a devastating pandemic and a price-fixing probe that has cost over $200 million to settle.

“The board and I know that Donnie has a deep understanding of our business, values and culture and the solid leadership skills needed to continue to implement our strategy and deliver strong results,” said John H Tyson, chairman of the board.

Cumulativeloy, King brings to the position more than 36 years of experience in the protein business, holding executive leadership positions involving all areas of the company, including poultry, beef, pork, prepared foods and international.

“I’m humbled but excited about leading Tyson Foods, a company that feeds millions of people and means so much to me personally,” said King.

“I believe we need to be sharply focused on operating with excellence, executing our strategies, and continuing to innovate across our businesses throughout the world.

King becomes Tyson’s fifth CEO in as many years, replacing Banks who had just stayed on the role for only 8 months.

Banks succeeded Noel White (now a vice chairman at Tyson) as President and CEO in October 2020.

White who saw the company through the pandemic disruptions, took the role in 2018 after the departure of Tom Hayes, who lasted less than two years in the job.

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