Smithfield Foods CEO Organ Steps Down After Less Than a Year

Smithfield Foods Inc. said Chief Executive Officer Dennis Organ is stepping down for personal reasons after less than a year on the job.

The company named Shane Smith, a two-decade veteran of the world’s biggest pork packer, as president and CEO, the company said Friday in a release.

The move comes weeks after Smithfield was sued by a consumer advocacy group for allegedly fueling fears of a meat shortage during the pandemic to boost demand and prices for its products. In August, Smithfield took out a full-page ad in Sunday’s edition of the New York Times to accuse its critics of false narratives and misinformation and to defend its operations to keep the nation fed during the pandemic.

Smith takes over as hog supplies have shrank in the U.S. and as meat packers have come under scrutiny in the U.S. Congress, with processors earning big profits even as livestock farmers have struggled. President Biden issued an executive order Friday promoting more competition in meat packing and elsewhere in the agriculture sector.

The management change also comes after Tyson Foods Inc., the top U.S. meat company by sales, said last month its CEO Dean Banks left his job after less than a year, citing personal reasons.

Smith was named chief strategy officer at Smithfield late in 2020, after his role as executive vice president of the company’s operations in Europe, where he has spent much of the past decade.

Smithfield is owned by the Hong Kong-listed WH Group Ltd.

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