SPRINGDALE, ARK. — Donnie King is the new president and chief executive officer of Tyson Foods, Inc. He replaces Dean Banks, who is leaving the company and board of directors for personal reasons. The change is effective immediately, according to the company.
Mr. King was most recently chief operating officer of Tyson Foods, a role he was appointed to in late February. As COO, the presidents of Tyson Foods’ fresh meats, prepared foods and international businesses reported to Mr. King. He was president of Tyson’s poultry business when he was named COO and retained the responsibility.
Mr. Banks’ tenure as president and CEO was brief. He stepped into the position on Oct. 3, 2020, replacing Noel White. Mr. Banks joined Tyson Foods as a director in 2017 and became president of the company in 2019.
“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. “We want to express our appreciation to Dean for his contributions as a board member and executive.”
The difference in professional experience between Mr. Banks and Mr. King is stark. Prior to joining Tyson Foods, Mr. Banks worked in technology. He was a project lead and on the leadership team at X, a business unit of Alphabet Inc. He also was managing partner of SEED Ventures, a group that invested in and developed early-stage health care technologies, before joining Alphabet.
Mr. King has spent 35 years in the meat and poultry industry. He joined Tyson Foods in 1982 and held positions in poultry plant and supply chain management. He has held multiple executive leadership positions, including group president and chief administration officer, president of North American operations and group president of international.
“I’m humbled but excited about leading Tyson Foods, a company that feeds millions of people and means so much to me personally,” Mr. King said. “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. With our strong leadership team, we are committed to winning with our customers and delivering an outstanding team member experience.”