SPRINGDALE, ARK. — Tyson Foods Inc.’s president and chief executive officer, Richard L. Bond, shocked the industry earlier today in announcing he was leaving the company, effective immediately.

In addressing his departure, Mr. Bond said in a company news release, "After seven years of helping lead or leading the world's largest meat company, I have decided it is in both my best interest personally, and the best interest of the company for me to move on and pursue other interests. I have a lot of both my time and personal finances invested in Tyson Foods, so I wish the company all the best for future success."

Leland Tollett, former chairman and c.e.o. of the company, is returning to Tyson as president and c.e.o. on an interim basis until a permanent successor is chosen. Donnie Smith, longtime Tyson executive, is being named senior group vice president of Poultry and Prepared Foods and will have overall responsibility for those divisions of the company.

Mr. Bond served as president of Tyson since January 2008 and has been its c.e.o. since May 19, 2006. From Feb. 15, 2003 to May 2006, he served as chief operating officer and president of the company. From October 2001 to February 2003, Mr. Bond served as Tyson’s co-chief operating officer and group president of Fresh Meats and Retail.

Prior to IBP Inc.’s merger into a wholly owned subsidiary of Tyson Foods in 2001, Mr. Bond served as president and c.o.o. of IBP from March 1, 1997 until the merger was completed.

For the year ended Sept. 27, Tyson Foods, Inc. had net income of $86 million, equal to 25c per share on the common stock, down 68% from $268 million, or 79c per share, during the pervious year. Sales for the year were $26,862 million, down 4% from $25,729 million during the previous year.

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