SPRINGDALE, ARK. — At the end of his first week serving as interim chief executive of Tyson Foods Inc., Leland Tollett addressed company employees Jan. 9, assuring them of his commitment to leading and promoting teamwork in the future. In a video presentation Mr. Tollett stated his intentions are to focus on returning the company’s poultry business to profitability, adding that he will assume the chief executive role for as long as it takes to find a permanent replacement for Richard Bond, who announced his retirement Jan. 5.
As for the firm’s international operations, renewable products, pork and beef business segments, he said there are no plans to change strategies, saying the company will "just keep doing what we’re doing in those areas and sharpen them up if we can.
"My goal is to get this business streamlined...letting people do their jobs."
Mr. Tollett said that while no major layoffs are planned as part of the company’s plan to return the poultry business to profitability, the division will be restructured, including the elimination of some corporate positions and the previously announced appointment of Donnie Smith as senior group vice-president of Poultry and Prepared Foods.
A search for a successor to Richard Bond, who announced his retirement as president and chief executive Jan. 5, is under way by the company’s board members, said Mr. Tollett, with the hope that the new leader will come from within the company’s ranks. No timeline has been established for naming the next chief, he said. "I don’t know if I will be in this position for three months or three years; I certainly hope it’s closer to three months."