Tyson Foods going 'meatless'?

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Tyson Foods going 'meatless'?

By Louisa Hallett - 09/17/2018
Tyson Foods promotes its COO as the company prepares for a possible ‘meatless’ transition.

Tyson Foods Inc. has named a long-time insider as its new Chief Executive Officer after its current leader stepped down.

The company announced Noel White as its new Chief Executive Officer. The announcement was made after the current Chief Executive Officer, Tom Hayes, proclaimed that he is leaving the company. Hayes, who is stepping down for personal reasons, was appointed the chief executive officer of the No. 1 U.S. meat processor in 2016.

“I am appreciative of the support from my family and the board for my decision and am confident that Tyson Foods has a bright future with Noel White, along with our enterprise leadership team, as its leader,” Hayes wrote without disclosing personal details on his abrupt exit.

In 2016, Hayes announced the decision to take a 5 percent stake in plant-based protein maker Beyond Meat, while also launching a venture capital fund worth $150 million to invest in other startups that develop meat substitutes. Hayes said he sees plant-based protein playing a big part of the food industry's future.

“If you take a look at the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) stats, protein consumption is growing around the world—and it continues to grow. It’s not just hot in the U.S.; it’s hot everywhere, people want protein, so whether it’s animal-based protein or plant-based protein, they have an appetite for it. Plant-based protein is growing almost, at this point, a little faster than animal-based, so I think the migration may continue in that direction,” Hayes said.

White, who joined Tyson following its acquisition of IBP in 2001, was most recently Tyson’s chief operations officer. He will take over at the end of the month, the company said.