Pilgrim CEO Takes Paid Leave Of Absence To Focus On Legal Battle

Global food company Pilgrim's Pride Corporation PPC announced over the weekend that its president and CEO Jayson Penn will temporarily step down to focus on a legal battle.

What Happened: Penn and a handful of other executives in the chicken industry were charged with allegedly fixing the price of poultry. Penn will take a paid leave of absence immediately to focus on his defense; he has pleaded not guilty.

"The board takes the recent allegations very seriously and believes it is in the best interests of both Jayson and the company that he is given the opportunity to focus on his legal defense during this time," Gilberto Tomazoni, chairman of Pilgrim's board, said in a statement. 

Pilgrim CFO Fabio Sandri was appointed interim president and CEO.

Why It's Important: Pilgrim said it "operates with the highest standards of integrity" and takes pride in operating within a "free and open competition" that benefits customers and consumers, Tomazoni said. 

What's Next: Sandri was named Pilgrim as CFO in mid-2011 and has nine years of relevant experience with the company as the leader of its financial management and investor relations activity.

The stock was down 0.94% at $17.97 premarket Monday.

Related Links:

Pilgrim's Pride Falls After Chicken Companies Are Charged With Price Fixing

Tyson Says It's 'Fully Cooperating' Amid Price Fixing Probe: WSJ

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