CINCINNATI – John Simons Jr. was named president and CEO of AdvancePierre Foods Inc., the company announced Sept. 30. Simons brings 20 years of experience in food, agribusiness and consumer products to the job.

“I am pleased and honored to lead the great team at AdvancePierre at this time of significant opportunity,” Simons said. “I am excited to build on the platform established during the last several years, and to work side by side with our team to serve our customers and win in the marketplace.”

Before joining AdvancePierre, Simons led Swift & Co. as president and CEO. He also was president and COO of several divisions of ConAgra Foods Inc. and spent several decades in executive positions at Cargill. Simons is the founder of Fir Hill Ventures, a business advising firm specializing in the beef industry.

“John’s long track record of fostering high-performing, customer-focused and innovative cultures, through building world-class organizational capabilities, and driving growth across a number of enterprises make him the right leader for AdvancePierre Foods at this point in its evolution,” said Dean Hollis, chairman of the board. “In his new role as president and chief executive officer, John will be responsible for leading AdvancePierre in the next phase of its journey to become the premier value-added protein and sandwich producer in the marketplace.”

Simons has a bachelor's degree in economics and political science from Stanford Univ. and a master of business administration from Harvard Business School. He was a member of the US Olympic swim team in 1980.

AdvancePierre is a leading manufacturer of value-added proteins and sandwich products.