The CEO of Pilgrim's Pride has taken a leave of absence to concentrate on his legal defense to federal charges of price fixing.
Jayson Penn has taken a fully paid leave in the wake of his indictment earlier this month on charges that he and other poultry industry executives conspired to fix prices for chicken. Chief Financial Officer Fabio Sandri will fill in.
"The board takes the recent allegations very seriously and believes it is in the best interest of both Jayson and the company that he is given the opportunity to focus on his legal defense during this time, " Gilberto's Tomazoni, chairman of Pilgrim's board, said in a statement.
The allegation charges that Pilgrim's conspired with other companies to fix the prices of chicken sold to restaurant chains by communicating with each other and agreeing on price points and discount limits. Pilgrim's, majority-owned by Brazil's JBS SA, denies the charges.