Butterball Hires Tyson Exec as Top Lawyer During Price-Fix Fight

Butterball LLC, a privately held poultry producer, hired Tyson Foods Inc. lawyer Brett Worlow to be its new general counsel.

Worlow most recently served as chief counsel and assistant corporate secretary at Tyson, where he spent nearly 16 years. In his new role on the executive management team Worlow will handle all legal matters involving the company, its board, and “key stakeholders,” according to a listing for the job.

He succeeds Butterball’s former general counsel and chief risk officer, Suzanne Griffin, who left the Garner, NC-based company last year to become the inaugural university compliance officer at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. The former Poyner Spruill partner spent more than a decade at Butterball.

Butterball and Tyson have been co-defendants in price-fixing litigation filed against major turkey suppliers, including poultry giants Cargill Inc. and Perdue Foods LLC. Tyson has settled some of the antitrust claims, the company said.

'width' : 300, 'params' : {} }; document.write('');

Butterball declined to discuss pending litigation but in a statement said the company was looking forward to Worlow’s “contributions to our executive leadership team.”

'height' : 90, 'width' : 728, 'params' : {} }; document.write('');

Worlow’s exit from Tyson comes after the Springdale, Ark.-based company reshaped its legal operations, in part due to pandemic-related pressures on food processors. Tyson and Butterball faced regulatory scrutiny over workplace safety issues.

Tyson last year promoted Amy Tu, who the company hired in 2017 from the Boeing Co. as top lawyer, to chief administrative officer and president of international. She still heads legal, global governance, and corporate affairs.

Tyson paid Tu nearly $5 million in total compensation—more than half in stock and option awards—in fiscal 2022, according to an annual proxy filing in December.

Bloomberg Law reported last year about Brazil’s JBS SA, the world’s largest meat supplier, and its affiliate Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., the world’s second-largest chicken producer, growing their own legal ranks in the face of cartel claims.

JBS, which hired former Big Law antitrust practice leader Kevin Arquit as its legal chief in 2021, tapped former Pilgrim’s Pride ethics and compliance head Michael Koenig to be its chief ethics and compliance officer last summer.

JBS paid $52.5 million as part of a September agreement to exit an industry-wide antitrust case accusing the company and competitors of fixing beef prices. JBS also settled a pork antitrust case that same month.

Leave a Comment