Pilgrim’s Pride CEO Bill Lovette leaves post abruptly

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After around eight years in the position
  • Accolades, praise and thanks for Lovette
  • Jayson Penn taking over
  • Lovette kept it short and said 38 words

(exechange) — Greeley, Colorado, March 22, 2019 — Bill Lovette, chief executive of Pilgrim’s Pride, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Friday, March 22, 2019, William W. (Bill) Lovette leaves his post as Chief Executive Officer at the producer of poultry and prepared foods after around eight years in the role, effective immediately.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the average tenure of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months was 8 years, according to data compiled by exechange.

Bill Lovette’s duties will be taken over by Jayson Penn, most recently President of Pilgrim’s USA.

“To generate more consistent and higher margins”

A reason for Bill Lovette’s sudden departure from the CEO post was not explicitly provided. Gilberto Tomazoni, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said: “The Board’s decision is further validation of the Pilgrim’s strategy, implemented in 2012, to create a unique, diversified portfolio across multiple geographies, with a focus on key customers and operational excellence, to generate more consistent and higher margins.”

Precise information regarding Bill Lovette’s future plans was not immediately available.


Pilgrim’s Pride said that its Board of Directors “has approved the appointment of Jayson Penn, current President of Pilgrim’s USA, to succeed Bill Lovette, who is retiring from the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of Pilgrim’s Pride.”

Pilgrim’s Pride further said: “William W. Lovette will be retiring from his positions as President and Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors effective March 22, 2019.”

“Not the result of any disagreement”

“Mr. Lovette’s retirement is not the result of any disagreement with the Company regarding its operations, policies or practices,” Pilgrim’s Pride said.

It is a phrase that may be intended to prevent false rumors. It may also fuel further speculation and raise more questions than it answers. Such a phrase should be read very carefully. The exact wording may be insightful.

Share price decline

The announcement follows a decline in Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation’s share price of 43 percent since December 2017.

Chaired by Gilberto Tomazoni

Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation is chaired by Gilberto Tomazoni.

In the position of CEO since 2011

William W. Lovette joined Pilgrim’s Pride as Chief Executive Officer and President on January 3, 2011.

Lovette has served as a Director of Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation since February 21, 2011.

He previously served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Case Foods, Inc. from October 2008 to December 2010.

Before joining Case Foods, Inc., Lovette spent 25 years with Tyson Foods Inc. in various roles in senior management, including President of its International Business Unit, President of its Foodservice Business Unit and Senior Group Vice President of Poultry and Prepared Foods.

Lovette earned a B.S. degree from Texas A&M University.

In addition, he is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

Lovette will remain available to provide strategic advisory services to the company through July 2020.

Push-out Score determined

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange gauges the likelihood that Bill Lovette was pushed out or felt pressure to leave the position.

exechange reached out to Pilgrim’s Pride and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 12.2019 ($).