Tom Hayes has taken over in his new role as CEO of Tyson Foods, replacing Donnie Smith, who retired from the company after serving as its CEO since November 2009.

Hayes’ promotion was effective December 31.

Hayes came to Tyson Foods upon the completion of Tyson’s 2014 acquisition of Hillshire Brands, and was named Tyson’s chief commercial officer. While with Hillshire, Hayes served as chief supply chain officer, overseeing operations that included procurement, manufacturing, food safety and quality, engineering and logistics. Prior to that, was senior vice president and chief supply chain officer for Sara Lee North America, responsible for supply chain activities for the company’s North American Retail and Foodservice businesses. Prior to this role, Hayes was president of Sara Lee Foodservice.


Hayes will also continue to serve in his role as president of Tyson Foods, a position he was promoted to in June. Smith also previously served in that role.

Hayes’ promotion to the CEO role was first announced in November. At the time, John Tyson, chairman of Tyson Foods’ board of directors, praised Hayes’ capabilities, saying the board’s decision to offer him the CEO role was based on “both his track record and how his skills align with the company’s strategic direction and continuing evolution.”

Tyson Foods, according to the WATTAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database, is the largest broiler company in the United States. The diversified company is also a leading processor of pork, turkey and beef.