Pilgrim’s Pride CEO takes leave to focus on legal defense

US & World

Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. said Sunday that Jayson Penn, its president and CEO, is taking a leave of absence to focus on his defense in a price fixing indictment.

Penn is one of four current and former executives at chicken companies who were indicted earlier this month on charges of price fixing.

A federal grand jury in Colorado found that executives from Greeley, Colorado-based Pilgrim’s Pride and Claxton, Georgia-based Claxton Poultry Farms conspired to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chickens from at least 2012 to 2017.

Penn has pleaded not guilty. The company said Sunday that his leave will begin immediately and that Fabio Sandri, Pilgrim’s CFO, has been appointed as interim president and CEO.

The charges come amid questions about the high price of meat during the coronavirus pandemic.

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