SMITHFIELD, VA. – Dennis Organ will take over the top job at Smithfield Foods Inc. a little earlier than previously announced.

The company announced that Organ became president and chief executive officer on Nov. 27. He was scheduled to take over at the beginning of January 2021.

Outgoing president Kenneth Sullivan plans to retire from the company and will remain an employee of Smithfield until Jan. 3, 2021.

“Transition activities are moving forward approximately one month ahead of schedule, facilitated by the close working relationship and shared strategies of Sullivan and Organ,” Smithfield said in a statement. “Organ has moved swiftly to install a new leadership team and assume the responsibilities of the office.”

Organ previously served as chief operating officer of US operations at Smithfield. Organ has worked in his current role since 2019, after the launch of the company’s “One Smithfield” campaign and leadership realignment. He joined Smithfield in 2010 and previously held the position of senior vice president of supply chain & direct store delivery with the company.

In the newly created position of COO, Organ was responsible for leading Smithfield’s 40,000 employees in 32 states, overseeing day-to-day operations of the company's business in the United States.

Sullivan, whose career at Smithfield began in 2003, assumed the role of president and CEO in 2016, succeeding C. Larry Pope, who retired at the end of 2015.

Before that Sullivan was promoted to the position of COO in 2015 and previously worked in numerous other roles, including chief financial officer from 2013 to 2015; vice president of finance from 2010 to 2013; and chief accounting officer from 2007 to 2013.