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Tyson Foods Names New CEO

World’s largest meat producer promoted Donnie Smith from senior group vice president to president and CEO, taking over leadership from interim president and CEO Leland Tollett.

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (AP) -- Tyson Foods Inc. named insider Donnie Smith as president and CEO of the world's largest meat producer on Thursday, replacing Leland Tollett who had been holding those positions on an interim basis.

Smith, 50, currently serves as Tyson's senior group vice president of poultry and prepared foods. Tollett will assist Smith during the transition period.

Tollett took over the top spots temporarily when Tyson announced in January that Richard Bond was stepping down from the position. Tollett had previoulsy served as Tyson's CEO from 1991 to 1998 and has been associated with the company since 1959.

When Tollett was named interim CEO, Tyson said its board of directors would focus on internal candidates as a permanent replacement.

Smith has worked for the company since 1980. He has held various positions at the business, including roles in purchasing; environmental, health and safety; food safety and quality assurance; manufacturing services; information systems and logistics.

Tyson also promoted Jim Lochner, 57, to chief operating officer on Thursday. Lochner currently serves as senior group vice president of fresh meats.

Tyson is based in Springdale, Ark. The company said it will name successors for Smith and Lochner in the next two weeks.

Tyson's stock slipped 10 cents to $12.99 in morning trading Friday.