Smithfield Food Restructures

US - US pig meat processing giant, Smithfield Foods, is to restructure with changes to key senior management appointments.
calendar icon 17 February 2015
clock icon 7 minute read

The restructuring is intended to unify all of its independent operating companies, brands, marketing, and more than 48,000 employees around the world under one corporate umbrella to accelerate the Company's growth and further its mission of providing "Good food. Responsibly."

Smithfield's business operations will now be organised in alignment with the company's customers and managed as four divisions - Packaged Meats, Fresh Pork, Hog Production and International.

"We are thrilled to launch this new structure that better supports our people, brands and customers while positioning Smithfield to take advantage of opportunities for growth," said C. Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer.

"The steps we are taking today build on our strong momentum and successes as we continue to solidify Smithfield's position as a global leader in branded packaged meats.

“Moving to a centralised structure and bringing our resources and brands together into these four operating divisions enables us to best utilise management talent across the company and maintain our commitment to serving our customers as we always have while more effectively providing our full array of products.

“Further, we are excited about the potential to leverage marketing programs and sponsorships, such as our involvement in NASCAR, across all of our brands."

Mr Pope added: "Importantly, our organizational realignment is about growth and harmonisation. In 2013, we promised that under new ownership the company would be 'The same old Smithfield, but better.' We have delivered on that promise, and once again we commit to growing and evolving the company without closing any plants or offices, or reducing our workforce. We look forward to maintaining our strong presence in Smithfield, VA; Kansas City, MO; Lisle, IL; Cincinnati, OH; and the many other communities in which our Company operates."

Following the realignment, the Packaged Meats Division will include all of the Company's packaged meats business previously operated under Smithfield Farmland and John Morrell Food Group within a single, cohesive division.

The Company's Fresh Pork division will encompass the former Smithfield Farmland fresh pork operations, and the Company's Hog Production and International businesses will retain their existing structure and leadership while operating under the new divisional structure.

In connection with the new divisional operating structure and related consolidation of certain business functions, Smithfield also announced several key senior management appointments, effective March 1, 2015:
• Kenneth M. Sullivan will assume the title of Executive Vice President in addition to his current role as Smithfield's Chief Financial Officer, overseeing consolidated finance, administrative and support services. Mr Sullivan was named Chief Financial Officer in 2013 after having served as Vice President of Finance from 2010 to 2013, Chief Accounting Officer from 2007 to 2013 and Vice President of Internal Audit from 2003 to 2007. Prior to joining Smithfield in 2003, Mr Sullivan spent twelve years at large public accounting and consulting firms serving a variety of clients in the manufacturing, technology and government contracting sectors. He also previously served in a chief auditor capacity for a large NYSE firm.

• Joseph B. Sebring has been appointed President, Packaged Meats Division. Mr Sebring brings more than thirty-six years of meat industry experience. He most recently served as President of Smithfield's John Morrell Food Group, which he joined in May 1994. From 1992 to 1994, he served as President and CEO of Indiana Packers, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Industries. Previously, from 1974 through 1992, he was employed by Fresh Mark Meat Products, Inc. where he served as Executive Vice President.

• Scott Saunders has been promoted to President, Fresh Pork Division. Mr Saunders, who has nearly 30 years of experience in the food industry, was previously Chief Financial Officer of Smithfield's John Morrell Food Group since 2008. Mr Saunders has held roles of increasing responsibility at John Morrell Food Group since joining the Company in 2002 as Director of Corporate Accounting focusing on the Fresh Pork Division. From 1992 to 2002, he served in roles spanning Cost Manager to Chief Financial Officer at Indiana Packers Corporation. Mr Saunders began his career at Hormel Foods Corporation in 1986.

• Gregg Schmidt will continue to lead Murphy-Brown LLC, the livestock production subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, as President, Hog Production Division. Mr Schmidt was named President of Murphy-Brown and assumed leadership of all of its North American swine production operations in 2013, after having served previously as President of Murphy-Brown East Production Operations from 2011 to 2013 and President of the International Division from 2002 to 2011. Prior to its merger with Murphy-Brown, Mr Schmidt served as Vice President of Production for Carroll's Foods from 1991 to 2001 and as Nutritionist for Carroll's Foods' Swine and Turkey Departments from 1986 to 1991. Mr Schmidt began his more than 30-year career in agriculture in roles with Vigortone Ag Products and Jaindl Turkey Farms.

• Darek Nowakowski will continue as President of Smithfield Europe, responsible for all of the Company's wholly owned investments in Europe, which compose the majority of the International Division. Mr Nowakowski's experience in the food industry spans more than thirty years. He joined Smithfield in 2006 as President of Animex, Poland's largest producer of packaged and fresh meats. Prior to joining Smithfield, Mr Nowakowski held a variety of management positions in the United States and Canada, including President and Chief Executive Officer of Humpty Dumpty Snack Foods, General Manager of Fresh Pork for Maple Leaf Foods, President of ConAgra Grain Processing Company, and President of Janes Family Foods. He began his career with International Multifoods in 1981.

Smithfield's new divisional leadership team will report directly to Mr Pope.

Mr Pope said: "I am delighted to announce these appointments in recognition of the leadership skills of these individuals and their contributions to Smithfield's success.

“We look forward to leveraging the strength of this divisional leadership team as we continue to transform Smithfield and optimise our operations across brand management, manufacturing, sales, marketing and other business processes.

“We are confident that our new organisational structure will enable our teams to operate more effectively, further unify our approach to the market as 'One Smithfield,' and leverage the Company's size and scope in the pork industry.

“We are enthusiastic about the future opportunities for Smithfield as our team remains people oriented and focused on serving customers and consumers to drive continued growth."

Timothy O. Schellpeper, President and Chief Operating Officer of Smithfield Farmland, has stepped down from his role and will retire on March 31, 2015 after nearly 25 years with the Company and its predecessors. Mr Schellpeper was involved in helping to design the new organizational structure. He will be available to Smithfield for as long as is necessary to ensure a seamless transition.

"I and the rest of the management team wish Tim all the best in the future. In his combined 25 years with Smithfield and Farmland, he has made significant contributions to the business and our strategic direction. I am personally grateful for his commitment to the business as well as his friendship over the years," said Mr Pope.

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