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Tyson Foods CEO compensation at $8.7 million

Published on January 6, 2011 3:01AM

Last changed on February 3, 2011 10:18AM

Company returns to profitability after sharp downturn

Associated Press

Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods Inc., received compensation valued at nearly $8.7 million in his first year at the helm of the meat producer.

Smith was Tyson's senior group vice president of poultry and prepared food and took over as CEO in November 2009, replacing Leland Tollett, who retired.

Smith was awarded a salary of $855,577 and a performance-based cash bonus of nearly $3.8 million for the 2010 fiscal year, according to documents recently filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He also received stock awards and options valued at nearly $4 million and other perks valued at $166,116.

Tollett, 73, announced his retirement at the beginning of the 2010 fiscal year. He received compensation of $5.9 million for the partial year -- including a salary of $600,000 and a nearly $5.2 million bonus. Tollett will also receive $300,000 a year to consult with the company until his death.

Tollett led the company from 1991 to 1998 and returned in 2009 as interim CEO to help lead the company out of a slump triggered by high ingredient costs and waning demand.

The company, based in Springdale, Ark., recently returned to a profit after one of the worst downturns in decades. Tyson reported net income of $780 million, or $2.06 per share for the 2010 fiscal year ended Oct. 2. In the prior year, it posted a loss of $547 million, or $1.47 per share. Annual revenue increased to $28.43 billion from $26.7 billion.

The Associated Press pay package formula for executive compensation is designed to isolate the value the company's board placed on the executive's total compensation package during the last fiscal year. It includes salary, bonus, performance-related bonuses, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year.

The calculations don't include changes in the present value of pension benefits, making the AP total different in most cases than the total reported by companies to the Securities and Exchange Commission.


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