Chairman of the Board John Tyson, of Tyson Foods Inc., announced today that the company’s Board of Directors has chosen Donnie Smith, currently senior group vice president of Poultry and Prepared Foods, to be the company’s president and chief executive officer, effective immediately. Additionally, Jim Lochner, currently senior group vice president of Fresh Meats, has been named the company’s chief operating officer.

“The Tyson Board and the Tyson family congratulate Donnie Smith and Jim Lochner and wish them the best for the future success of our company,” Tyson said. “We appreciate Leland Tollett stepping into the CEO role earlier in the year and working so hard to help turn the company around. Significant progress has been made. I have worked with both Donnie and Jim for a number of years and am convinced that they are the right leadership team for this next phase in the evolution of our company. Their extensive experience inside the company has fully prepared them to continue the progress we have made in the last year.”

Tollett, who has been serving as interim president and CEO of the company since January, will continue in the coming months to assist Smith and Lochner in the transition, and he will be available for strategic advice and support. “When I was called back to help get our company back on course, I was asked how long I would be in this role. I jokingly said, ‘somewhere between three months and three years, hopefully sooner than later.’ That time is now, and our company has been profitable for an extended period of time and it has been personally gratifying to me to have been able to lead a great team of people in turning our company around in a relatively short time. I know Donnie and Jim are ready to take on these new responsibilities and lead the great team of managers we have in our company. I’ve enjoyed being back at the company this year, but while I’ll continue to be available for advice should it be needed, the amount of time I spend on company matters will be reduced significantly going forward,” Tollett said.

Smith, 50, joined Tyson Foods in 1980 after graduating from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Animal Science. After seven years experience in various live poultry production jobs, he moved to the corporate headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, to join the Tyson commodities purchasing group. Since then, he has had various leadership roles in the company, including Purchasing; Environmental, Health and Safety; Food Safety and Quality Assurance; Manufacturing Services; Information Systems; and Logistics, before becoming senior group vice president of Poultry and Prepared Foods.

“I started with Tyson Foods 29 years ago, and I’ve been very fortunate to serve in several roles for this great company,” Smith said. “At every turn, I learned a different aspect of what we do, but the most important thing I’ve learned is that we have an amazing team of individuals that are dedicated to producing results. I am honored that I will now serve these team members as the leader of our company, and I am certain that 2010 and the years to come are going to be great for our shareholders, our customers, and other stakeholders. Yes, we, like everyone else, have seen some struggles in these economic times, but I am certain that through the leadership of our team, the efforts of all our Team Members with our customers, and the focus on operational excellence, we will succeed.”

Lochner, 57, joined IBP Inc., later purchased by Tyson, in 1983 as director of research. Previously, he was a quality control food technologist at Oscar Mayer Foods and a laboratory technician at the University of Wisconsin. In his first 14 years at IBP, Lochner held several different officer positions in various quality control and technical services areas. He became executive vice president of IBP in 1997, responsible for all of IBP’s beef and pork plants. In 2000, he was promoted to president and chief operating officer of IBP Fresh Meats. After Tyson Foods acquired IBP in 2001, he was named group vice president of Tyson Fresh Meats. He was then named Tyson Foods’ senior group vice president of Margin Optimization in 2005 before becoming senior group vice president of Fresh Meats in 2007. Lochner earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in meat and animal science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Source: Tyson Foods

Hardee's introduces Six Dollar Cheeseburger

Carl’s Jr. launched The Six Dollar Cheeseburger, adding more fuel to the fire in the premium burger wars. Selling for $2.79, the Six Dollar Cheeseburger is nearly twice as big as the McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese. The Six Dollar Cheeseburger features almost a half pound of charbroiled 100% Black Angus Beef, two slices of American cheese, onion, dill pickles, ketchup and mustard on a seeded bun.

Carl’s Jr. also is launching a Big Carl Combo Rewards Card promotion. With the purchase of any size Big Carl Combo (Big Carl, fries and a drink), priced starting at $4.49, customers will receive one Rewards Card valued between $1 and $100 to be used for any food purchase on their next visit. The promotion runs Nov. 18 – Jan. 5, or while supplies last.

“The Six Dollar Cheeseburger provides another option for burger lovers to get a delicious premium-quality burger at a better value than our competitors,” said Andrew F. Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. “Our customers have responded very positively to both the Big Carl and the Big Hardee. The direct comparison of our bigger charbroiled burgers to the smaller, yet pricier, McDonald’s burgers which are fried on a flat grill is an eye opener for a lot of people.”

Source: CKE Restaurants

Trial update: Oklahoma could have ignored other pollution sources

A scientist in the Oklahoma poultry pollution trial testified that the runoff from poultry litter-fertilized fields accounted for a significant portion of phosphorus pollution in the Illinois River watershed. However, a defense attorney for the poultry companies involved in the case argued that he overlooked many other sources. The attorney stated that cattle operations, coal-fired power plants and urban runoff could have also contributed to the pollution.

Geochemist Roger Olson, testifying as an expert witness for the state of Oklahoma, analyzed water samples and soil samples taken from the watershed. The defense attorney, Tom Green, pointed out that he did not take soil samples near septic systems, nurseries and other areas where commercial fertilizers may have been used, reports ABC news.

Source: ABC News