Former Chief Executive Officer, Tyson Foods, Inc.
Donnie Smith’s passion for leadership has been the hallmark of his 36-year career in the food business. As president and CEO of Tyson Foods from 2009 to 2016, he led the company to focus on feeding the world with great, affordable food while also making a positive difference in people’s lives. Under his leadership, Tyson Foods achieved four straight years of record profits and multiplied its stock value six times in seven years.
Throughout his career, Smith worked to learn every angle of Tyson Foods’ business. He joined the company in 1980, working in poultry operations for seven years in Tennessee before moving to the company’s headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, where he served as a commodity buyer. Smith was named director of commodity purchasing in 1991, and over the years, he added several complementary responsibilities to his management portfolio, including logistics, purchasing, information systems, engineering, food safety and quality assurance, and environmental health and safety. He moved into the company’s consumer products division in 2008 and was named senior group vice president of poultry and prepared foods in early 2009, the same year he was appointed president and CEO of Tyson Foods.
Smith now serves as a consultant for Tyson Foods while also focusing on his continued work to feed the world. He and his wife, Terry, are native Tennesseans and have three children and one grandchild.
Smith received his bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and continues to be involved with his alma mater.