Mike Welch, Harrison Poultry Inc. executive, has announced he will retire from the president/CEO roles at the end of April 2017. Harrison Poultry’s Vice President of Operations David Bleth will succeed him. Welch will continue with the company in a paid advisory capacity.
“It has been my privilege to work at Harrison Poultry for 26 years,” said Welch. “I believe now is the right time for new leadership to take the company forward, and retiring from Harrison Poultry is right for my family and me.”
Welch began his poultry industry career in 1967, working his way up through the ranks holding management positions at several major poultry companies before joining Harrison Poultry. A respected industry leader, he provided Senate testimony on economic pressures facing the industry and served as chairman of the National Chicken Council and as a board member of industry organizations including the Georgia Poultry Federation, the Georgia Poultry Improvement Association and the World Poultry Foundation (WPF).
The Harrison Poultry Board of Directors approved Welch’s recommendation to elect Bleth as the next President/CEO. Bleth joined Harrison in 2009 following a progression of ever-increasing challenge and success in a series of engineering and operations leadership roles in organizations, including Hormel, Baader, Wayne Farms, Gold N’ Plump Poultry, and American Seafoods Group.
“I’m very pleased that David has been named our new President/CEO,” said Welch. “His leadership has been critical to our dramatic scale growth, capability expansion, and productivity increases since I recruited him to Harrison. He has exciting plans to improve our total efficiency and volume and adapt our offering mix to market trends and our customers’ needs. I’m confident that he will continue to provide the quality products and superior service our customers have come to expect from Harrison Poultry.”