John Tyson Reaps $20 Million in Pay, Stock Options

John Tyson, chairman of the board of Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale, was paid just a hair under $8 million in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 28, and he also realized almost $12.5 million by exercising stock options.

The company also paid $29.85 million to buy 1 million shares of Class B stock from Tyson LP, the family-controlled company that owns virtually all the Class B stock under Tyson Foods' dual-share structure.

Tyson wasn't the only Tyson Foods officer to get a raise in fiscal 2013, but his raise was the biggest, according to the annual proxy statement that the Springdale poultry and meat producer released on Friday. In the previous fiscal year, his total compensation was $4.22 million and he realized an additional $2 million from stock options.

The highest-paid Tyson executive was CEO Donnie Smith, whose compensation increased by more than $2 million — from $7.84 million in fiscal 2012 to $9.87 million in the recently completed fiscal year. His compensation included a $3.7 million cash incentive payment. He realized an additional $147,400 on stock options.

The proxy statement invites shareholders to the annual meeting at 10 a.m. Jan. 31 at the Holiday Inn Northwest Arkansas Convention Center in Springdale. The agenda will include re-electing all nine current members of the board of directors, reappointing PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as outside auditor, and taking a routine advisory vote on the company's executive compensation plan.

The salaries of other named executive officers disclosed in the proxy are:

James V. Lochner, chief operating officer, $9.14 million in total compensation, which included a $3.54 million cash incentive. That compares with $7.8 million in fiscal 2012. On top of that, Lochner realized even more from exercising stock options than did Tyson: $12.8 million.

Dennis Leatherby, EVP and CFO, $3.56 million in total compensation, including a cash incentive of $1.47 million. Leatherby realized $113,851 by exercising stock options.

Donnie King, president of prepared foods, $3.59 million in total compensation, including a cash incentive of $1.56 million. King's stock options netted him $624,473 in fiscal 2013.

Noel White, president of poultry, total compensation of $3.55 million. His cash incentive was $1.42 million, and he realized an additional $3.17 million from exercising stock options.