We all have things to look forward to as a new year begins, but for Tyson Foods’ Tom Hayes, the stakes of 2017 might be just a little higher.
After all, he is taking over as the CEO of a company that is not only the largest broiler company in the United States, but is also a diversified international company that is also a leading producer of pork, turkey and beef.
When Hayes was participating in the Bernstein Consumer Summit on December 7, he was asked what his main objectives he would have for Tyson Foods as he took over as its CEO on January 1. He named five key priorities:
1. Continue trajectory Tyson Foods has been on
The company has done some amazing things recently, Hayes said, and that is thanks to the contributions of a variety of Tyson team members. He said it doesn’t matter who is responsible, because he views the company as a family that works well together. He is anxious to lead such a team.
2. Continue growth in protein markets
Tyson Foods has long been a leading producer of chicken, pork and beef, and with the 2014 acquisition of Hillshire Brands, became a major player in the turkey industry. With the company’s recent investment in Beyond Meat, Tyson Foods now has a stake in the plant-based protein industry. With the consumer demand for protein not slowing down, Hayes believes Tyson Foods has “tremendous capabilities that can be leveraged to maximize that growth and create great returns for our shareholders.”
3. Take a more proactive approach to sustainability and transparency
Consumers, now more than ever, want more transparency in terms of how a company does business. Hayes says consumers are due more transparency than Tyson Foods is giving, and as a leading food company, he says the company will improve in both sustainability and transparency.
4. Product innovation
Hayes says Tyson’s “innovation pipeline is full.” He says consumers need to “be prepared for some great new products” to be introduced in 2017.
5. Invest in the business ‘the right way’
Hayes notes that Tyson Foods has a very strong base to work from, and it will make strategic investments in order to grow.
“Don’t be surprised if we pull in an acquisition or two,” he said.