GREELEY, Colo. – Don Jackson, president and CEO of Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, is resigning Jan. 2 to become president and CEO of JBS USA – the majority owner of Pilgrim's Pride. The position was formerly held by Wesley Batista. As a result, Pilgrim’s board of directors has appointed William Lovette to fill Jackson’s position as president and CEO of Pilgrim’s Pride, effective Jan. 3.
In his new role, Jackson will be responsible for JBS USA's major US operations. Those operations include the Beef unit run by Bill Rupp, who recently joined JBS; the Pork unit led by Marty Dooley; and Pilgrim's Pride under its new CEO, as well as corporate and other units.
Lovette brings more than 27 years of industry leadership experience to Pilgrim's. Since 2008, he has served as president and COO of Case Foods, Inc. Before joining Case, he spent 25 years with Tyson Foods 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. While at Tyson Foods, he served on the boards of Tyson de Mexico, Cobb-Vantress Inc. and EFS Network Inc.
Lovette will report to Jackson, who will continue to serve on Pilgrim's board of directors. In his new role, Jackson will continue reporting to Wesley Batista, who will remain as chairman of Pilgrim's Pride and JBS USA while also continuing to serve on the board of JBS SA. JBS Australia will also continue to report to Batista, who plans to dedicate more time toward the continued growth and expansion of the JBS Group, focusing on enhanced direct distribution and other strategic projects.
"As we continue to build on our achievements and execute our growth strategy to enhance value, I am very proud of the significant contributions from our team at all levels,” Batista said. “I am certain Don and Bill will continue to drive our results and performance in our overall business while strengthening the depth of our management. My confidence is that by working together with their colleagues at JBS USA and Pilgrim's, they will continue to improve our competitive position and market strength. I look forward to a very bright future.”
"Congratulations to all our US team,” added Joesley Batista, president and CEO of JBS SA. “We continue our commitment toward solid growth and value enhancement with a good corporate governance culture. The strength of our team in the US and elsewhere is what makes us a global reference company in our sector and, as demonstrated in the past, we will spare no effort in continuing to innovate and create value for all our stakeholders.”
"Bill is exceptionally qualified to lead Pilgrim's and our 41,000 employees to even greater success in the years ahead," Jackson said. "He brings a tremendous breadth of industry experience and a proven track record of success to this role. He has a deep knowledge of the poultry business and the market environment, and we believe that he will lead Pilgrim's to continued growth and profitability."