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Tyson Foods Heir Pleads Not Guilty After Public Intoxication Arrest

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An attorney entered pleas of not guilty on behalf of Tyson Foods CFO John R. Tyson in Fayetteville District Court on Thursday.

Tyson is the 32-year-old son of the company’s chairman of the board and the great-grandson of the company founder. He faces charges of criminal trespass and public intoxication after being found asleep in a stranger’s bed in the early morning hours of Nov. 6.

Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale released a statement, saying the company supported Tyson after a review of the incident through a committee of independent members of its board of directors.

“The company and a committee of independent directors of the Tyson Board have separately reviewed the recent incident involving our Chief Financial Officer, John R. Tyson,” the statement says. “This review process was conducted pursuant to the company’s internal procedures, best practices in corporate governance, and resulted in actions consistent with those procedures. The board supports Mr. Tyson and has continued confidence in his ability to lead Tyson Foods as CFO.”

Fayetteville attorney W.H. Taylor entered the pleas, according to the district court. Tyson’s trial on the charges is scheduled for Feb. 15.

Fayetteville police arrested Tyson after receiving a call at 1:48 a.m. from a woman who lived on Mock Street in downtown Fayetteville. She told police an unknown man was asleep in her bed; she told police she believes the man, later identified as Tyson, entered through an unlocked door.

Police officers said they found Tyson asleep, smelling of alcohol and “sluggish and uncoordinated.” He was arrested and later released on $415 bail.

John R. Tyson apologized for his actions during a conference call with industry analysts Nov. 14, saying he was “embarrassed” and took “full responsibility.” He said the incident was contrary to the company’s and his values.

Tyson joined the company as its Chief Sustainability Officer in 2019, joining his father, John H. Tyson, a former CEO and now chairman. John R. Tyson was promoted to CFO in September 2022.

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