Pilgrim’s Pride CEO Jayson Penn on paid leave of absence

Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation President and CEO Jayson Penn has begun a paid leave of absence, effective June 14.

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Jayson Penn, president and CEO of Pilgrim's Pride (Pilgrim's Pride)
Jayson Penn, president and CEO of Pilgrim's Pride (Pilgrim's Pride)

Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation President and CEO 

Jayson Penn has begun a paid leave of absence, effective June 14.

During his leave of absence, 

Penn intends to focus on his defense of the recently disclosed indictment against him, to which he has pleaded not guilty, the company stated in a press release. 

The Pilgrim’s Board of Directors has appointed 

Fabio Sandri, Pilgrim’s chief financial officer (CFO), as interim president and CEO.

Fabio Sandri

Pilgrim's Pride has appointed Fabio Sandri as the interim president and CEO. (Pilgrim's Pride)

“Pilgrim’s operates with the highest standards of integrity and is committed to free and open competition that benefits both customers and consumers,” said 

Gilberto Tomazoni, chairman of Pilgrim’s Board of Directors. “The board takes the recent allegations very seriously and believes it is in the best interests of both Jayson and the company that he is given the opportunity to focus on his legal defense during this time. Jayson has built a strong leadership team at Pilgrim’s. The board has complete confidence in the ability of Fabio and the team to continue to implement Pilgrim’s strategy and successfully run day-to-day operations.”

Penn, along with Roger Austin, a former vice president of Pilgrim’s Pride; Mikell Fries, president of Claxton Poultry; and Scott Brady, Claxton Poultry national accounts sales manager, were indicted on federal antitrust charges. The indictment alleges the four conspired to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chickens across the United States, from as early as 2012 until at least early 2017.

All four have entered pleas of not guilty.

If the suspects are convicted of the alleged crimes, each would face a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by victims if either amount is greater than $1 million.

Penn, previously the president of Pilgrim’s USA, was promoted to the CEO position in 2019.

Fabio Sandri joined Pilgrim’s as CFO in June 2011. He brings to his role as interim CEO nine years of experience with the company as leader of its financial management and investor relations activities.

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