Shares of Tyson Foods (TSN) are sliding just over 2.2% in pre-market trading as the company announces a CEO transition.
The Springdale, Arkansas-based food industry leader announced this morning that current president and CEO Tom Hayes, the company's leader since 2016, will be replaced by Noel White effective September 30.
Gary Mickelson, director of media relations at Tyson, affirmed that company focus will remain steadfast to Real Money in an email.
"We can tell you there will be no change in corporate direction," he said. "Noel will continue to oversee Tyson Foods' ongoing expansion into new product categories and maintain the company's focus on global growth, innovation, value-added capabilities and customer partnerships to drive long-term value."
Tyson's shares slid 2.2% to $62.01 per share as of 8:22 a.m. in New York.
The release states that the sudden decision to transition leadership was provoked by personal circumstances for Mr. Hayes. No prior indication of a change was given at company presentations.
White is currently a group president of Beef, Pork and International for the company and has maintained a post at the world's second largest poultry, beef, and pork processor in the world since 2001.
To give confidence to shareholders, White will need to show he can change the trajectory of the company, which has fallen from a 52-week high of $84.65 per share to just $62 this morning, a nearly 30% drop.
This morning, it does not seem the market is welcoming the news.
John Tyson, the company's chairman, said he was confident in White's ability to drive international business in particular.
"He has run our beef, pork, and poultry businesses and is now helping Tyson Foods capitalize on international opportunities," he said."His deep institutional knowledge and a stellar track record over his more than 30-year career at Tyson Foods and a predecessor company give the board the utmost confidence in his ability to drive the business forward, accelerate global growth and create long-term value for shareholders."
The company also affirmed its fiscal year 2018 guidance, which slates a range on earnings per share from $5.70 to $6. Analyst consensus stands at $5.90, according to FactSet data.