Tyson Foods & Hillshire Brands Complete Merger

CEO Smith announces new senior leadership team

Tyson Hillshire (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Foodservice / Snacks)

SPRINGDALE, Ark. & CHICAGO -- Tyson Foods Inc. has announced the completion of its merger with The Hillshire Brands Co., a transaction that positions Tyson Foods as a leader in the prepared foods business. In connection with the merger, shares of Hillshire Brands common stock will be delisted and cease trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Chicago Stock Exchange (CSE) before the opening of the respective markets on Aug. 29, 2014.

The combination of Tyson Foods and Hillshire Brands creates a single company with more than $40 billion in annual sales and a portfolio that includes major brands such as Tyson, Wright, Jimmy Dean, Ball Park, State Fair and Hillshire Farm. 

"As of today, Tyson Foods and Hillshire Brands are officially together in one great company," said Tyson Foods CEO Donnie Smith. "Part of our strategic growth plan has been to shift toward higher-margin prepared and branded foods. This transaction gives us a portfolio of complementary, proven brands as a new springboard and accomplishes in a short time what would have taken us years to build on our own." 

The companies expect the integration to generate synergy savings of $225 million in fiscal 2015 and more than $500 million by fiscal 2017.

Teams from Tyson and Hillshire have been working on integration plans since July. 

The new leadership team includes a mix of existing senior leaders from Tyson Foods and Hillshire Brands.

Andy Callahan, former president of Hillshire's retail business, will manage all retail consumer brands, including the legacy Hillshire consumer brands (such as Jimmy Dean, Ball Park, Hillshire Farm and Sara Lee), Tyson's consumer brands (such as Tyson frozen, value-added poultry and Wright Brand bacon) and Hillshire's Gourmet Food Group.

Sally Grimes, former chief innovation officer and president of Hillshire's Gourmet Food Group, will lead Tyson's innovation (including research and development), sales and global brand strategy teams to support all products sold through retail channels and to maximize global growth of our consumer brands.

Donnie King, former president of prepared foods, customer and consumer solutions for Tyson Foods, will oversee Tyson's legacy poultry, fresh meats and nonbranded prepared foods businesses as well as the combined Tyson Foods and Hillshire foodservice businesses. Those reporting to him will include Steve Stouffer who will lead fresh meats; Noel White who will lead poultry; Wes Morris who will lead prepared foods operations; and Tom Hayes, currently chief supply chain officer for Hillshire Brands, who will lead the combined Tyson and Hillshire foodservice businesses.

Sean Connolly, former president and CEO of Hillshire Brands, has chosen to pursue other interests, but will consult during the integration process.

Tyson, with headquarters in Springdale, Ark., is one of the world's largest processors and marketers of chicken, beef and pork. It produces a variety of protein-based and prepared food products and is a leader in the retail and foodservice markets it serves.

Chicago-based Hillshire is a leader in branded, convenient foods.