John Brown University Welcomes Tyson Foods, Inc. CEO Donnie Smith

John Brown University and Soderquist Leadership will welcome Donnie Smith, chief executive officer at Tyson Foods, Inc., to speak in chapel Thursday, Nov. 3 at 10:30 a.m. for Soderquist Leadership Chapel.

Soderquist Leadership each semester brings to JBU world-class leaders to share with students their experiences and insights.

“Soderquist Leadership is excited to give JBU students access to hear some of the most influential leaders in the country,” Chuck Hyde, CEO of Soderquist Leadership, said. “Smith is a role model who exemplifies how to live out your faith in real ways, as a leader of a large for-profit organization. For students, it’s easy to think Smith makes a difference because he is a CEO, but Smith’s story begins way before that.”

Smith started working for Tyson in poultry operations in Tennessee before moving to the company’s headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas as commodity buyer in 1980. Rising through the ranks from director of commodity purchasing in 1991 to CEO in 2009, Smith learned every angle of the Tyson Foods business.

Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN), headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, is one of the world’s largest food companies with leading brands such as Tyson®, Jimmy Dean®, Hillshire Farm®, Sara Lee®, Ball Park®, Wright®, Aidells® and State Fair®. It’s a recognized market leader in chicken, beef and pork as well as prepared foods, including bacon, breakfast sausage, turkey, lunchmeat, hot dogs, pizza crusts and toppings, tortillas and desserts. The company supplies retail and foodservice customers throughout the United States and approximately 130 countries. Tyson

Foods was founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson, whose family has continued to lead the business with his son, Don Tyson, guiding the company for many years and grandson, John H. Tyson, serving as the current chairman of the board of directors. The company currently has approximately 113,000 team members employed at more than 400 facilities and offices in the United States and around the world. Through its Core Values, Code of Conduct and Team Member Bill of Rights, Tyson Foods strives to operate with integrity and trust and is committed to creating value for its shareholders, customers and Team Members. The company also strives to be faith-friendly, provide a safe work environment and serve as stewards of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it.

Located on JBU’s Siloam Springs campus, Soderquist Leadership is a provider of leadership development for organizations of all sizes, dedicated to developing values-based leaders around the world. For more information, visit

John Brown University is a leading private Christian university, training students to honor God and serve others since 1919. Arkansas’ top ranked regional university (U.S. News Best Colleges, 2017), JBU enrolls more than 2,700 students from 40 states and 37 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, degree completion and concurrent education programs. JBU offers more than 39 majors, with top programs including business administration, graphic design, engineering, construction management, counseling, teacher education and nursing.

Donnie Smith, CEO for Tyson Foods, Inc.

Donnie Smith, CEO for Tyson Foods, Inc.