Tyson CEO Donnie Smith is a career employee who was promoted to the top spot in November 2009. Tyson, the largest manufacturer in the state and third only to the state government and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in the number of Arkansans it employs, has been his home for 31 years.
He signed on in 1980 after graduating from the University of Tennessee with a degree in animal science. He moved to the home office in Springdale seven years later to join the commodities purchasing group.
He continued up the ladder and was senior group vice president of poultry and prepared foods before his ultimate promotion.
He oversaw a dramatic improvement in Tyson's bottom line during fiscal 2010, when the company posted net income of $765 million after a loss of more than half a billion dollars in 2009.
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