Smithfield Hires Third CEO in Eight Months

July 12, 2021
Smithfield Foods has promoted chief strategy officer Shane Smith to the top spot, making him the company’s third CEO in eight months.

Smithfield Foods has promoted chief strategy officer Shane Smith to the top spot, making him the company’s third CEO in eight months.

Smith is Smithfield’s president and CEO as of July 9. He succeeds Dennis Organ, who was appointed to the top position in November 2020. A company statement said only that Organ “is stepping down for personal reasons.”

Smith joined Smithfield as a financial analyst in 2003, working his way to becoming EVP of European operations and then chief strategy officer.

He takes over at a troubled time for Smithfield, which, like all large meat processors, has struggled with the pandemic. Its plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., was shut down for about three weeks in late April 2020. Smithfield workers have suffered more than 3,300 cases of COVID infections with 15 deaths, according to the Food & Environment Reporting Network.

In addition, Smithfield is paying substantial sums to settle lawsuits, including $83 million in a price-fixing case and $7.7 million in a complaint over overtime pay.

"I am honored to serve as Smithfield's next President and CEO and lead an incredible team of more than 63,000 people who all work together to provide families worldwide with wholesome, safe and affordable food,” Smith said in a statement. “Together with our talented leadership team, I look forward to furthering our long-term vision that has made us one of the world's leading consumer packaged protein companies, creating value for a broad range of stakeholders.”

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