After more than a decade with Butterball and 40-plus years in the industry, Kerry Doughty is stepping down from his role as president and chief executive officer of Butterball, due to health reasons.

Butterball Chief Operating Officer Jay Jandrain has been formally appointed to succeed Doughty as president and CEO.

Kerry Doughty's achievements

Doughty joined Butterball as executive vice president of sales, marketing, and research and development in 2007 after a lengthy career in foodservice sales and branding. He was named president and CEO in 2014 and has been responsible for business strategy for the world’s largest turkey producer, including leading the company to a record-breaking year in 2016, the launch of the company’s first “no antibiotics ever” and organic product lines, and the creation of Butterball’s Animal Care and Well-Being program and certification under American Humane.

As executive vice president of sales, marketing and R&D, Doughty was responsible for Butterball’s domestic and international retail and foodservice customer relationships, marketing and public relations initiatives, and new product and innovation development.

“I knew when I took the job that Butterball had a great brand and strong presence in the market. What I didn’t know was how good the people were at Butterball,” said Doughty. “I’ve been extremely impressed with the quality of people up and down the line, from hourly associates to senior executives, I feel like we have the best team in the industry.”

Earlier in 2018, Doughty was awarded the 2018 Poultry Person of the Year by Urner Barry, a business publisher of market news for the poultry, egg, meat, and seafood industries. He was recognized for his people-come-first mentality and hard work toward the betterment of the poultry business.

This lifetime recognition was no surprise for those who work closest with Doughty. “Kerry’s sales background has led to a ‘customer first’ perspective that has guided the tone at Butterball even before he became CEO,” said Jandrain. “His desire to please our customers and consumers with exceptional service and quality have been the driving force behind our success. Kerry has unselfishly extended his agenda to grow turkey consumption beyond just Butterball. He has been a strong voice for the turkey industry, knowing that if the industry thrives, there will be additional opportunities for each of its constituents.”

Butterball ownership reflected similarly on Doughty’s service to the company. “On behalf of Maxwell Farms, I would like to thank Kerry for his many significant contributions during his 10 years with Butterball, and especially for his leadership during nearly five years as CEO,” said Walter Pelletier, who also serves on the Butterball board of directors. “Among his most valuable contributions has been the recruitment and development of an excellent management team that is fully capable of taking the company forward. We wish Kerry and his family the very best.”

“Kerry’s dedication to Butterball and the leadership he’s provided the company since he started more than a decade ago have added tremendous value to one of the most respected and well-known food brands” said Steve Bresky, president and CEO of Seaboard Corporation, and a member of the Butterball board of directors. “Kerry is a true leader who knows the value of hard work and inspires the same from those around him. Through his strategic thinking and drive for innovation, the company has reached new records while refusing to compromise the quality that the Butterball brand is known for. He has been a leader among his industry peers and he will be missed.”

Doughty held board of director roles with the National Turkey Federation, the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the North American Meat Institute and the Triangle American Heart Association.

Prior to joining Butterball in 2007, Doughty worked for more than 25 years in sales and brand development, most recently as vice president of food service for Perdue Farms.

Jay Jandrain becomes new Butterball CEO

Jay Jandrain | Photo courtesy of Butterball

Assuming the role of president and CEO, Jandrain previously served as chief operating officer for Butterball, LLC, overseeing plant operations, corporate purchasing, transportation and warehousing, demand and supply planning, corporate engineering and R&D.

Jandrain joined Butterball in May of 2002 as the director of product R&D. He has since held roles including vice president of deli sales, vice president of product R&D, vice president of integrated business strategy and executive vice president of sales. Prior to Butterball, Jandrain held multiple sales, marketing and R&D management positions with companies such as Cargill and Plantation Foods. He received his Bachelor of Science in Food Science from Cornell University.

A search is underway to hire a new chief operating officer.