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Butterball names new CEO

Garner-based Butterball announced this afternoon that it has named Rod Brenneman, a long-time executive with one of the turkey producer's parent companies, as CEO.

The move comes four months after the previous CEO, Keith Shoemaker, resigned without explanation.

Brenneman is a 22-year veteran of Seaboard Corp. of Kansas, the holding company which acquired a 50 percent stake in Butterball in December. Maxwell Farms owns the other half of the company.

Seaboard's investment came after Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork producer, agreed to sell its interest in Butterball.

Butterball CEO resigns

Garner-based Butterball announced today that its CEO and president, Keith Shoemaker, resigned on Monday.

The company didn't give a reason for Shoemaker's departure. No immediate replacement has been named.

In the interim, members of Butterball's board will assume the CEO responsibilities, the company said in a release.

Shoemaker's resignation comes seven months after Smithfield Foods agreed to sell its interest in Butterball.

Butterball is now a joint venture between Maxwell Farms and Seaboard Corp. of Kansas.
“Butterball thanks Mr. Shoemaker for his valuable service and for successfully guiding the company through last year’s change in ownership as well as his role in making the company what it is today,” said Walter Pelletier, president of Maxwell Farms and board member of Butterball, in the release.
Steven Bresky, president and CEO of Seaboard, said in the release that Shoemaker's departure wouldn't result in any major operational changes. 

“During this transition we do not anticipate major changes in any areas of production or employment," he said.  "It is business as usual.”

Butterball parents bickering over ownership

Butterball could have a new parent before Thanksgiving.

The world's largest turkey company, which moved its corporate headquarters to Garner in 2008, is a joint venture of Maxwell Farms and Smithfield Foods.

But Smithfield, which owns 49 percent of Butterball, isn't happy with the arrangement.

On Thursday, the company announced that it has offered about $200 million to buy Maxwell's 51 percent stake. If Maxwell isn't interested in selling, Smithfield plans to unload its share of Butterball. Smithfield wants a decision by mid-September.

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