Tom Hayes, Tyson
Tom Hayes became c.e.o. Dec. 31, 2016 succeeding Donnie Smith, tenure 2009-16
Tyson Foods, Inc.

SPRINGDALE, ARK. — Following the acquisition of Hillshire Brands in 2014, Tyson Foods, Inc. executives described the soon-to-be “prepared foods powerhouse” Tyson 2.0. With the Hillshire business integrated into the company, many are wondering what Tyson 3.0 may look like. It will be Tom Hayes’ job to define the Tyson Foods of the future.

Mr. Hayes takes the helm as chief executive officer of Tyson Foods, Inc., succeeding Donnie Smith, at a time of transition for one of the world’s largest meat-protein companies. During a Dec. 7 presentation at the Sanford C. Bernstein Consumer Summit, Mr. Hayes gave a preview of the direction Tyson Foods may take under his leadership. This past October, Tyson Foods took a minority stake in the plant-based protein company Beyond Meat, El Segundo, Calif., signaling Tyson Foods’ intent to diversify beyond its core market.

“What we want to do is make sure wherever consumers are interested in protein, that we’re providing a solution that is great-tasting and that’s what we’ve been up to for the last several years and, certainly, within the last year,” he said during the Dec. 7 conference.

Mr. Hayes has spent 29 years in the consumer products industry. In June 2016 he was promoted to president of Tyson Foods. Prior to that, Mr. Hayes was chief commercial officer at Tyson Foods, and before that he was president of food service. Previously, Mr. Hayes was chief supply chain officer for The Hillshire Brands.

“When Tyson acquired Hillshire Brands in 2014, with the support of the board and the family, we embarked on a new strategy to integrate the strengths and products of each company into one company, and the resulting hybrid model has been a success in no small part thanks to Tom’s strategic, operational and commercial accomplishments,” Mr. Smith said. “I am confident that Tom is the right c.e.o. to continue the transition we have started and lead Tyson in the next phase of its strategic development and growth. I look forward to supporting Tom and the rest of the management team.”