Tyson’s John Tyson Needs to Be Fired

Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN) bad boy Chief Financial Officer John Randal Tyson needs to be fired. He was found drunk in a bed of a house that was not his. The female owner discovered him. He was too drunk to be quickly returned to his senses by police. The charges against him are public intoxication and trespassing, which seem minor compared to the gravity of the offense.

At almost any public corporation in America, Tyson would have been fired by now. However, John (no middle initial) Tyson is the board chair. The Tyson family controls the voting shares, making it barely a public company. Tyson the younger should be fired, but he probably will not be.

A man named Donnie King is Tyson’s chief executive officer. He cannot do much the Tysons don’t want him to. The board is stacked with people who are obviously “Tyson-friendly.” Executive Vice Chair Noel White used to be CEO. The other vice chair and lead independent director is Kevin McNamara. He has been on the board since 2007 and does not have a single qualification to hold his position. According to the most recent proxy statement, McNamara made $230,000.

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The John Randal Tyson incident tells a great deal about what is wrong with companies that have super-voting shares. Tyson has appointed a special committee of independent board members to review the incident. However, these directors are not independent at all. The Tysons can overrule any decision they make.

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A prediction: John Randal Tyson will get some form of punishment. Perhaps he will have to forgo some of his pay package. He may be banned from Tyson holiday dinners, but just this year.

Mark these words. In about a decade, John Randal Tyson will be the company’s CEO.

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