Aviagen, the world’s leading poultry breeding company, has named industry veteran Kevin McDaniel as its next president of Aviagen North America. McDaniel will succeed Ben Thompson, who is retiring in August.

McDaniel will report directly to Jan Henriksen, CEO of Aviagen Broiler Breeding Group, and will be based in Huntsville, Alabama. As president, McDaniel will be responsible for grandparent (GP) production and parent stock (PS) sales for North America.

“We are pleased to have Kevin on board as president of Aviagen North America,” said Henriksen. “With more than a quarter century of poultry industry experience, Kevin has an excellent knowledge of the North American market, along with extraordinary production experience and proven leadership ability.”


McDaniel has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Stephen F. Austin State University and more than 25 years of extensive experience in the poultry industry. He’s served as complex manager for Pilgrim’s, senior vice president of operations at OK Foods, and most recently as senior director of operations at Wayne Farms.

McDaniel and his family will be relocating to Huntsville in the next few months.

Thompson is retiring from Aviagen after 13 years with the company, the last eight of which were spent serving as president. “Ben Thompson has been a very strong leader and one who has managed the company through some challenging times and market transitions,” added Henriksen. “Ben is leaving the company at a time of successful growth and development, and the board is grateful for his innumerable contributions and his distinguished tenure here at Aviagen.”