SPRINGDALE, Ark. and CHICAGO – Tyson Foods Inc. and The Hillshire Brands Co. announced the completion of their merger, nearly three months after Tyson won a bidding war for the company. Shares of Hillshire Brands common stock were delisted and ceased trading on the New York Stock Exchange and Chicago Stock Exchange before the markets opened this morning.
"As of today, Tyson Foods and Hillshire Brands are officially together in one great company," stated Tyson Foods CEO Donnie Smith. "Part of our strategic growth plan has been to shift toward higher-margin prepared and branded foods. This transaction gives us a portfolio of complementary, proven brands as a new springboard and accomplishes in a short time what would have taken us years to build on our own."
Tyson beat out Pilgrim's Pride Corp. with an offer to acquire Hillshire for approximately $7.7 billion, or $63 in cash per share, in early June, as CSNews Online previously reported.
Tyson and Hillshire now make up a single company with more than $40 billion in annual sales. Integration of the two companies is expected to generate synergy savings of $225 million in fiscal 2015 and more than $500 million by fiscal 2017, according to the announcement.
Teams from Tyson and Hillshire have been working on integration plans since July. "During this process, I've had a chance to get to know many people on the Hillshire Brands team and the great work they're doing, and I'm more convinced than ever that the future of our combined companies is bright," Smith said. "As excited as I am about our new brands, I'm equally excited about the combined talent of the two companies."
A new leadership team includes existing senior leaders from both Tyson and Hillshire:
- Andy Callahan, former president of Hillshire's retail business, will manage all retail consumer brands, including legacy Hillshire brands such as Jimmy Dean, Ball Park, Hillshire Farms and Sara Lee; Tyson's consumer brands, such as Tyson frozen, value-added poultry and Wright-brand bacon; and Hillshire's Gourmet Food Group.
- Sally Grimes, former chief innovation officer and president of Hillshire's Gourmet Food Group, will lead Tyson's innovation, sales and global brand strategy teams to support all products sold through retail channels and maximize global growth of consumer brands.
- Donnie King, former president of prepared foods, customer and consumer solutions for Tyson Foods, will oversee Tyson's legacy poultry, fresh meats and non-branded prepared foods businesses, as well as the combined Tyson Foods and Hillshire foodservice businesses.
- Those who report to King include Steve Stouffer, who will lead fresh meats; Noel White, who will lead poultry; Wes Morris, who will lead prepared foods operations; and Tom Hayes, currently the chief supply chain officer for Hillshire Brands, who will lead the combined Tyson and Hillshire foodservice businesses.
- Those who will continue to report to Smith include David Van Bebber, who leads the Tyson legal team; Sara Lilygren, who leads corporate affairs; Dennis Leatherby, who continues as the company's chief financial officer; Hal Carper, who heads strategy and new ventures; Mike Roetzel, who oversees operations services; and Russell Tooley, who heads the company's business process and continuous improvement practice.
- Ken Kimbro, leader of Tyson Foods' human resources functions since 2001, will transition into retirement and be replaced by Mary Leksiuk, former chief human resources officer for Hillshire Brands.
- Malik Sadiq, senior vice president - Asia Pacific, will oversee Tyson International on an interim basis, taking the place of James Young, who will transition to the Cobb-Vantress breeding stock subsidiary in the coming months.
"This is an awesome team and they're prepared to make this integration process smooth and efficient while we continue to exceed the expectations of our customers and consumers," said Smith.
Former Hillshire Brands President and CEO Sean Connolly has chosen to pursue other interests, but will consult during the integration process, the announcement noted.