Former Tyson CFO Dennis Leatherby Dies

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018 11:27 am   2 min read

Dennis Leatherby (Tyson Foods Inc.)

Dennis Leatherby, Tyson Foods Inc.'s longtime CFO who retired in April, died Monday. He was 58.

Leatherby announced his retirement last year and left the company four months ago after handing over CFO duties to Stewart Glendinning, who joined the publicly traded meat processor in December from Molson Coors Brewing Co.

Leatherby had said that, with Tyson Foods entering its next phase of growth, it was a good time for him to "pursue the next chapter" in his life.

"Dennis was a man of integrity and we're deeply saddened by his sudden passing," Tyson Foods Chairman John Tyson said in a statement. "He was a well-respected leader and colleague who was committed to helping our company succeed. 

"Over the years, he was involved in helping us work through some major acquisitions as well as some difficult times. We appreciate all he did for the company, but, most importantly, we're grateful for his friendship and support. My heart goes out to his wife Kathleen and all of their family."

Funeral details weren't available on Wednesday.

Announcing Leatherby's retirement in November, CEO Tom Hayes called Leatherby "a critical factor in our growth, helping guide the strategic repositioning of the company and our acquisition program during his tenure."

Leatherby, who at 38 was named to Arkansas Business' 40 Under 40 class in 1999, became familiar with Tyson Foods in the 1980s while working as a corporate banker. The Springdale company was among his clients, and he helped Tyson complete its 1989 acquisition of Holly Farms.

He joined the company as assistant treasurer in 1990. By the time of his 40 Under 40 honor, he was senior vice president of finance.

"It's a very active environment here, and I think just keeping the projects moving — getting them done and moving to the next one — makes the job exciting," he said at the time.

In 2008, Leatherby replaced Wade Miquelon as Tyson Foods' CFO, working under then-CEO Richard Bond.

Other CEOs came and went. And so did the acquisitions, including Tyson's $8.5 billion deal for Hillshire Brands in 2014 and its $4.2 billion deal to buy AdvancePierre Foods in 2017.

According to Tyson Foods, Leatherby was named Outstanding Financial Executive of the Year (2009-10) and Alumni Fellow (2015-16) by his alma mater, the Kansas State University College of Business Administration, where he earned bachelor's degrees in both accounting and finance.

He was an advisory council member of the KSU business administration college; on the board of the Garrison Financial Institute at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas; and a member of the Finance Committee at Central United Methodist Church in Fayetteville.



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