Our Beef With Tyson Foods’ Silence

Thom Weidlich 11.10.22


Whew, boy. Early Sunday morning, the new CFO of Tyson Foods — who’s also the chairman’s son and the founder’s great-grandson — was arrested after he allegedly got stinko drunk, went home to the wrong house and fell asleep in the homeowner’s bed. Tyson Foods says it’s a personal matter and please go away. Um, no.

The woman whose Fayetteville, Arkansas, house CFO John R. Tyson, 32, fell asleep in told police she thinks he entered through an unlocked front door and she doesn’t know him. Police said they tried to wake Tyson, but after sitting up briefly he fell back asleep. They smelled booze. They found his clothes piled in front of the bed. Alas, video shows Tyson at the detention center wearing nothing but his skivvies.

“What is the company saying about all this?” one anchor asked an on-air reporter.


‘Personal Matter’

Tyson Foods spokesman Derek Burleson told Arkansas’ KNWA/Fox 24, which broke the story: “We’re aware of the incident and as this is a personal matter, we have no additional comment.”


First of all, Tyson Foods, one of the world’s largest meat processors (brands include Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm and Ball Park), is a publicly traded company. The Springdale, Arkansas, outfit has stakeholders — employees, customers, vendors, neighbors, and, yes, shareholders — who have a right to know what’s going on. To suggest the arrest of the chief financial officer is none of their business stinks like a pigpen.

To make matters worse, CFO Tyson, who’s been with the company since 2019, ascended to the finance throne only last month. He should have been a little more aware of the importance of reputation in his new position. He’s scheduled to participate in his first earnings call as CFO on Nov. 14 — and wouldn’t we like to be a fly on the conference-room wall during that call.

‘High Expectations’

To his credit, Tyson wrote a companywide email (which the company likely leaked) apologizing for the incident. “I am embarrassed for personal conduct that is inconsistent with my personal values, the company’s values and the high expectations we hold for each other here at Tyson Foods,” he wrote, according to KNWA/Fox 24. He said he was seeking alcohol counseling.

Given the family connections, we doubt the company will fire him (maybe a suspension is in order?). But it should assure its various audiences that it’s handling the situation. We don’t make light of a person’s alcohol problem, if that’s what this is, but the investing public has the right to know certain things about publicly traded companies.

Photo Credit: AGF-stockphoto/Shutterstock

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