Rivers to CEO at Wayne Farms

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OAKWOOD, Ga. – Wayne Farms LLC has announced the company’s executive succession plans. Elton Maddox will be stepping down as CEO after leading the company for 21 years. He will assume the role of executive chairman and will continue his role as chairman of the Wayne Farms Board of Managers. J. Clinton Rivers, current COO, will take over as CEO on April 1. This transition has been planned since Rivers took over as COO in April 2014.

Rivers brings 36 years of poultry industry experience to his new role. He joined Wayne Farms in October 2012 as vice president and general manager of the Fresh Business Unit.  He led the company’s acquisition of the Dothan, Alabama, facility from Perdue Farms and oversaw a major expansion of the facility allowing the company to expand its small bird program. He also led the development of Wayne Farms’ antibiotic-free chicken line and managed the construction of the company’s new South Alabama feed mill.

“Our continuously improving operational approach to production and quality is going to be our focus,” Rivers said. “We’re positioned well in the industry, we have outstanding talent, and our business is solid and growing – that is a great time to implement this transition strategy and I am looking forward to being part of our success going forward.”

Rivers spent 21 years with Pilgrim’s Pride, becoming COO in 2004 and CEO in 2008. He also served as president of foodservice and supply chain for Perdue prior to joining Wayne Farms.

 “I am excited to work with Wayne Farms in another great role that will give me the opportunity to take us to the next level in our industry while still being able to help Clint grow the company,” Maddox said. He went on to reflect on his experiences with Wayne Farms, “My time with Wayne Farms has been so rewarding – from both a professional and personal vantage. I am blessed to work with some of the best people in this business, and I’ve watched our business and our people grow to make us an industry leader year after year.”

Maddox joined Wayne Farms in April 1974 as a complex engineer. During his almost 43-year tenure, Maddox built an executive management team that focused on integrity, profitability and continuous improvement in the areas of safety, quality and production.

In his new role as executive chairman, Maddox will support Rivers in his management transition and strategy development, and will maintain relationships with key customers.

In addition, a search is underway for a vice president and general manager of the Fresh Business Unit, who will report to Rivers. 

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