SMITHFIELD, Va. -- The great-grandson of the founder of Smithfield Foods, has resigned less than three weeks after it was purchased by Chinese meat giant Shuanghui International Holdings.

“On Oct. 1, 2013, Joseph W. Luter IV resigned from his position as executive vice president of the company, effective Oct. 11, 2013, to pursue other opportunities,” Keira Lombardo, Smithfield’s vice president of investor relations and corporate communications wrote in an email to

In 1936, Joseph W. Luter Sr. and Joseph W. Luter Jr. founded Smithfield. Joseph W. Luter III assumed the presidency in 1966 following his father’s death. Joseph Luter III headed up the company for most of the next four decades. He retired as CEO in 2006 but remained as board chairman until the September 2013 takeover by Shuanghui International Holdings.

In 2008, Luter IV became executive vice president at Smithfield, heading sales and marketing. Prior to that, he was senior vice president of sales and marketing and president and chief operating officer of Smithfield Packing Co.

Luter was not listed among the senior Smithfield executives named in a recent proxy as receiving “retention bonuses” should they stay on after the takeover by Shuanghui. But he was eligible for a “potential cash severance payment” of nearly $6.5 million, the proxy indicated.