SALISBURY, MD — Jim Leighton has been promoted to president of Perdue Food Products, which was effective April 1, announced Jim Perdue, chairman of Perdue Farms.

“This is an exciting and challenging time for our food products business as we continue to elevate our products and build on our heritage,” Perdue said. “I know I can count on Jim’s leadership and experience.”

In 2006, Leighton joined Perdue in the newly created role of senior vice president, supply chain and operations. During that time he spearheaded developing the Perdue Business Improvement Process, which engages associates in the continuous-improvement process. In 2009, he was promoted to foodservice division president. He later assumed the added responsibility for the international channel. In 2010, he was promoted to retail president.

Leighton has more than 25 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods industry. Before joining Perdue, he was senior vice president of operations at ConAgra Foods, and held positions of increasing responsibility with Hain Celestial Food Group, Celestial Seasonings Inc., Nabisco and Richland Bakeries Inc. He also served as president, CEO and founder of National Health Management Inc.

A Univ. of Iowa graduate, who earned a bachelor of arts’ degree in business administration and industrial relations, Leighton earned his master’s degree in business administration from Keller Graduate School of Management in Chicago.

Leighton is a member of the National Chicken Council’s board of directors; serves on the executive committee of the National Turkey Federation; is a member of the board of directors of Smart Balance Inc.; serves on the Foundation Board and corporate board of directors at Atlantic General Hospital; and is a senior faculty member at Keller Graduate School of Business Administration.