Foster Farms appoints new CEO

On March 22, 2024, in Industry Notes, by David Elrod

Foster Farms this week announced that Jayson Penn will become its next CEO, effective immediately. Penn replaces Donnie Smith, who announced his retirement.

Smith was named CEO of Foster Farms in 2022 upon its acquisition by private equity firm Atlas Holdings. Smith spent 36 years at Tyson Foods, where he eventually served as CEO from 2009 to 2016.

Penn, who most recently served as CEO of John Soules Foods, previously served as CEO of Pilgrim’s Pride from 2019 to 2020 after the retirement of Bill Lovette. Prior to joining Pilgrim’s in 2011, Penn held leadership roles at Case Foods, Marshall Durbin Companies, and Sanderson Farms.

“Foster Farms has been a household name for nearly a century, and I’m excited to continue working to position this iconic brand for success for many years to come,” Penn said. “A solid foundation for smart growth has been set, and I’m ready to get started.”

“Jayson’s deep industry experience and commitment to operational excellence provide the right combination to lead Foster Farms into the future,” Atlas Holdings partners Sam Astor, Ed Fletcher, and Mike Sher said in a joint statement.

Penn has served on the board of directors of the National Chicken Council, USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, and the World Poultry Federation.

Foster Farms also announced the appointment of James Richards to be the company’s CFO. Richards had served most recently as president and CEO of Kodi Collective, a print and marketing business. Prior to this, he spent 22 years at General Electric, including as CFO.