Gerald Lessard, West Liberty Foods president of operations, is retiring at the end of November after having been with the company for 16 years.

Lessard will leave the company, effective November 30, 2020.

He leaves behind more than 40 years of food industry knowledge as well as expertise in livestock production and manufacturing. Throughout his career, he experienced progressive responsibilities starting with live turkey production through primary processing, further processing, warehousing and logistics.

Coinciding with his leadership role at West Liberty Foods, he was also president of Liberty Cold, a cold storage warehouse and distribution center owned by West Liberty Foods and located in Bolingbrook, Illinois.

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Prior to his time at West Liberty Foods, Lessard also held leadership positions with Zacky Farms, Butterball and Salm Partners.

“Gerald has always been a source of valuable knowledge for West Liberty Foods,” said Ed Garrett, chief executive officer of West Liberty Foods. “His extensive manufacturing experience, attention to detail, and management style will always be appreciated by those who worked closest with him. Gerald’s innovative mindset allowed West Liberty Foods to find manufacturing solutions and reach operational excellence throughout his tenure. While his presence and guidance will be greatly missed, we wish him the best of luck in his retirement years.”

“I sincerely appreciate the support and guidance that the West Liberty board, owners, leaders, team members and suppliers have provided me over the last 16 years,” Lessard said in a recent statement. “This support provided an exceptional environment to advance innovative solutions resulting in significant growth for the company and its team members. I value the relationships that developed during my career and look forward to staying connected with the Industry while watching West Liberty Foods continue to innovate and grow well into the future.”

Headquartered in West Liberty, Iowa, West Liberty Foods is the 12th largest turkey company in the United States, having slaughtered nearly 224 million pounds of live turkeys in 2019.