Pilgrim's Pride has named Don Jackson as its president and chief executive officer (CEO), subject to approval of the US Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas.
Lonnie Ken Pilgrim, the company's current chairman, has also been named as interim president until Jackson's employment is approved by the bankruptcy court. Jackson will join the company immediately on an interim basis.
Jackson will assume the combined duties of Clint Rivers, the former president and CEO, and Robert Wright, the former chief operating officer, both of whom resigned have from the company.
Jackson had served as president of Foster Farms' poultry division, based in Livingston, California, since 2000. Prior to that, he served as executive vice president for foodservice of the former ConAgra Poultry Company in Duluth, Georgia. Before that he worked for 22 years for Seaboard Farms of Athens, Georgia, including four years as president and CEO of their poultry division. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University and his Master's and Ph.D. degrees from Colorado State University.
Pilgrim's Pride, the largest chicken producer in the US, had been severely hit by high grain prices, oversupply of meat on the market and weak demand. Its US$1.3 billion acquisition of rival Gold Kist Inc. in 2007 was also seen as an ill-advised move, as it saddled the company with a large debt.
Pilgrim's Pride posted a loss of US$998.6 million in the fiscal year that ended September 27.
The company filed for bankruptcy protection on December 1.