Pope to leave Smithfield

by Erica Shaffer
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SMITHFIELD, Va. – C. Larry Pope CEO of Smithfield Foods Inc., will retire from the company effective Dec. 31 after a 35-year career at Smithfield, the company announced. Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and COO will succeed Pope as CEO. 

C. Larry Pope, CEO, Smithfield Foods
C. Larry Pope, CEO, Smithfield Foods

Pope joined Smithfield Foods in 1980 as controller. He became CFO in 1999. In 2001, he was promoted to president and COO. Pope succeeded Joseph W. Luter, III, as CEO in 2006. Before joining Smithfield, Pope spent four years with Coopers & Lybrand, a global accountancy and consultancy firm that merged with Price Waterhouse in 1998.

In a statement, Pope said the leadership change comes at a time of “strength and growth for Smithfield.”

“Since February, the Smithfield family has been hard at work implementing our ‘One Smithfield' initiative aimed at solidifying the company's position as a global leader in branded packaged meats,” he said. “During this time, we have unified Smithfield and made the company stronger and more efficient to better support our people, brands and customers.

“We have also put in place the next generation of leadership to ensure Smithfield's success long into the future,” he continued. “I am extremely pleased with what we have achieved during my tenure as CEO and think the future is even brighter with the management team that we have put in place over the past two years. As such, I believe now is the right time for me to retire and allow this team to bring new excitement, energy, ideas and perspectives to the company.” 

Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and COO, Smithfield Foods
Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and COO, Smithfield Foods

Sullivan was named president and COO earlier this year. He has held a number of positions within the company including CFO from 2013 to 2015; vice president of finance from 2010 to 2013; and chief accounting officer from 2007 to 2013. Before joining Smithfield in 2003, Sullivan spent 12 years at large public accounting and consulting firms serving a variety of clients in the manufacturing, technology and government contracting sectors.

“I am very excited and thankful to the board for giving me the opportunity to lead Smithfield, the company I have called home for over 12 years,” Sullivan said. “We have a strong leadership team in place with a shared vision and commitment to continue our evolution as a consumer packaged goods company.”

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