Hillshire Brands CEO to Step Down After Tyson Foods Merger
The Tyson Foods-Hillshire Brands took no time in completing its merger, after the U.S. Department of Justice officially gave it a nod of approval for passing antitrust scrutiny. At the end of August, Tyson CEO Donnie Smith announced that its $8.5 billion acquisition of processed meats company Hillshire Brands was complete:
“As of today, Tyson Foods and Hillshire Brands are officially together in one great company,” said 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.”
Most mergers and acquisitions come with a certain amount of shuffling and shakeups where executives are concerned, and this one is no exception. While several Hillshire executives are staying on – including Hillshire Chief Innovation Officer Sally Grimes who now oversee Tyson’s innovation and global brand strategy teams, and Hillshire Retail President Andy Callahan who will manage Hillshire and Tyson’s legacy consumer brands. But Hillshire Brands President and CEO Sean Connolly has announced that, after a transition period, he will be stepping down and leaving the company completely.
“Sean Connolly, former president and chief executive officer of Hillshire Brands, has chosen to pursue other interests, but will consult during the integration process,” reads the statement from Tyson Foods.
Connolly began his tenure with Hillshire Brands in 2012, starting out as CEO for Sara Lee’s North American Retail and Foodservice division and then making the leap after Hillshire was spun off later that year. Prior to that, his resume included positions with such prominent brands as Campbell Soup Company and Proctor & Gamble. There is no word yet on whether Connolly has another position lined up to follow his time at Hillshire.