Tyson Foods, founded in 1935, is one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein. We innovate continually to make protein more sustainable, tailor food for everywhere it’s available and raise the world’s expectations for how much good food can do. Headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, United States, the company has 139,000 team members. Through its Core Values, Tyson Foods strives to operate with integrity, create value for its shareholders, customers, communities and team members and serve as a steward of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it.
Where We Came From
At Tyson Foods, we maintain a strong connection with our past. We believe our past helps inform our future, ensuring the culture that carried us then continues to fortify us now.
1940 — 1949: POST-WAR BOOM
During World War II, food rationing becomes an everyday reality. Poultry, however, is not rationed, and demand grows fast. John moves into the business of raising chicks and grinding feed for local chicken farmers.
On April 10, 1946, John has a load of Andy Christy’s New Hampshire Reds delivered by airplane to Fayetteville, a first for Northwest Arkansas. John says later, “I decided early that, if you had the best chicks in the area, you’d have the best customers and get the best results.”
Incorporation: Tyson Feed and Hatchery, Inc.
John incorporates his growing business as Tyson Feed and Hatchery, Inc., in 1947. The company now provides three essential services: the sale of baby chicks, the sale of feed, and the transportation of chickens to market.
1950 — 1959: EXPANSION AND VERTICAL INTEGRATION
Don Joins the Company
At 22, Don Tyson, John’s son, joins the company as general manager. “I left the [University of Arkansas] in 1952, and from that day until 1963, the year I took the company public, I worked in the business six days a week and on Dad’s farm on the seventh day.”
First Major Expansion
Meatpackers begin to base operations in Northwest Arkansas. In the late 1950s, John offers a parcel of land to a processing company to entice them to build a plant. The deal falls through, and Don convinces John that it is time to build their own processing plant.
First Processing Plant
Originally budgeted at $75,000, John is not happy when his son’s new processing plant goes over budget. Don gets a bank loan to finish construction. At a final cost of $90,000, the Randall Road plant opens in 1958, completing the vertical integration of the company.
1960 — 1969: GOING PUBLIC
Going Public: Tyson’s Foods, Inc.
In 1963, Don, now vice president, takes the company public as Tyson’s Foods, Inc. Under his leadership, the company begins an odyssey of acquisitions that grows Tyson Foods in every direction.
Vision and Commitment
Don’s vision guides the company to fruitful acquisitions and new markets. “Don had an uncanny ability,” Leland Tollett would later say. “But the real success of the company is the result of a genuine commitment by Don to ‘always take care of our people.’”
Change and Tragedy
Don becomes president of the company in 1966. In 1967, John W. Tyson and his wife, Helen, lost their lives in a terrible automobile-train accident. Following his father’s death, Don Tyson took his place as chairman and CEO.
1970 — 1979: NEW LOOK, NEW DIGS, SAME VALUES
New Corporate Offices
To kick off the decade, team members move into the new corporate offices in Springdale on Oaklawn Drive. We’re still located in the same place today, although a few more buildings have been added and the street name changed to Don Tyson Parkway in 2008.
Company Name Changes: Tyson Foods, Inc.
In 1972, the company name changes to Tyson Foods, Inc., as we know it today. Along with the name change, we introduced a new look, the Tyson® oval.
Commitment to Community
In 1979, Don outlines our commitment to the communities we serve, writing in our annual report: “Tyson Foods believes that, if we don’t take an active part in the community, we won’t deserve a place in it very long.”
1980 — 1989: LEAPS AND BOUNDS
Despite the struggling economic situation in the early 1980s, Tyson Foods experiences a period of tremendous growth. “We find something we think we can do, focus on it, and then aim to be number one at it.” Says Don in the 1986 annual report.
Mexican Original Acquisition
In 1983, Tyson Foods acquires Mexican Original, Inc., a flour and corn tortilla processing plant in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
On the World Stage
By the end of 1989, the company has doubled in size in just five years, becoming the world’s largest fully-integrated producer, processor, and marketer of poultry-based food products. The company also formally organizes its International division with joint ventures in both Mexico and Japan.
1990 — 1999: PASSING THE TORCH
Throughout the 1990s, Tyson Foods enters new markets worldwide including countries in Asia, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Rim. By 1991, the company’s international sales offices include Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Canada. In 1995, the company establishes its Moscow office.
Wray and Tollett
Buddy Wray becomes chief operating officer in 1991, and in 1995, president is added to his title. In 1991, Leland Tollett is named CEO, Vice Chairman of the Board in 1993, and then Chairman in 1995.
Passing the Torch
By the end of the decade, Don Tyson formally retires, though he remains active in the company and on the Board for many years. John H. Tyson rises to serve as chairman of the board. John H. is the third generation of Tysons to lead the company.
2010 — 2020: REACHING OUT AND BRANCHING OUT
Building a Center of Innovation
The Discovery Center is completed at the Springdale headquarters in 2007. It serves our company, the industry, and our consumers as an unrivaled force of innovation.
10 Years of Fighting Hunger
In 2010, Tyson Foods marks its tenth year as a partner with Share Our Strength, donating more than 76 million pounds of products to hunger and disaster relief. The partnership is part of our history of fighting hunger in communities across the U.S.
10 Years of Sustainability Progress
In July 2014, Tyson Foods marks 10 years of sustainability progress. We remain committed to our five pillars of sustainability: healthier animals, healthier communities, healthier environment, healthier food and a healthier workplace.
In November 2018, Tyson Foods completes acquisition of Keystone Foods, a leading supplier of chicken, beef, and fish to the growing global foodservice industry.
In February 2019, Tyson Foods announces an agreement to acquire Thai and European Operations from BRF S.A., including processing facilities in Thailand, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, to expand offerings of value-added protein in global markets.
Banks Named CEO
Tyson Foods names Dean Banks as CEO in October 2020. Banks was named president of Tyson Foods in December 2019 and has served on the board of directors since 2017.