The Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods board said it has “continued confidence” in its CFO John R. Tyson after conducting what it characterized as two separate reviews of Tyson’s Nov. 6 arrest on public intoxication and criminal trespassing charges.
“The company and a committee of independent directors of the Tyson Board have separately reviewed the recent incident involving our Chief Financial Officer, John R. Tyson,” according to a statement provided to CFO Dive by a company spokesperson on Wednesday. “The Board supports Mr. Tyson and has continued confidence in his ability to lead Tyson Foods as CFO.”
The company’s statement was previously reported by the New York Post and Bloomberg.
Last week Tyson pleaded not guilty to public intoxication and criminal trespass charges stemming from the November incident. He was arrested last month after he was allegedly found asleep in a stranger’s Fayetteville, Ark. home, according to a police report. A Feb. 15 trial is scheduled on the charges.
Tyson is the son of the company chairman and great grandson of the company founder. He was promoted to the role of finance chief in September. He was previously chief sustainability officer for the meat processing company.
The board’s “governance and nominating committee” was responsible for completing the review, according to the company spokesperson. Les R. Baledge, Mike Beebe and David J. Bronczek comprise this committee. Baledge, the committee director since 2020, was also the company’s executive vice president and general counsel from 1999 to 2004 before he retired.
Tyson CEO Donnie King disclosed that the company’s board of directors was overseeing a review of the matter on a Nov. 14 earnings call. During the same call Tyson also apologized to investors, saying the incident was “inconsistent with our company values and my personal values,” echoing a company-wide statement he had previously sent out.
Tyson Foods has drawn criticism from some corporate governance experts who have said the company should have taken a more aggressive stance and quicker action to address the arrest of its newly-minted CFO.
The review’s speed raised more questions for Keith Meyer, CEO of recruiting firm Allegis Partners, about the thoroughness of the process and also suggests that it was handled “completely internally,” he said. Some experts have said the company should have hired an external firm to lead a review, according to a Nov. 14 Reuters report.
But Meyer also said the company may have taken more actions to address the matter than they have disclosed.
“This is like an iceberg,” Meyer said. “There might be a significant amount of things that weren’t made public relative to the outcome of the independent review. There might be a whole series of guardrails that the board put around him, his duties, and how he’s performing in the job that we’ll never know.”