Foster Farms President and CEO Ron Foster announced plans to step down from his current position on Thursday. Although he is relinquishing the title of President and CEO, the third generation family member in charge of the poultry company still plans to continue on with his role as owner and director.
“I have greatly enjoyed the past 11 years as your CEO. During this period, we have witnessed some of the most challenging and some of the most rewarding times in our company’s history,” wrote Foster in a letter to his employees. “I am confident that Foster Farms is positioned to do great things.”
During his tenure, Foster Farms became the first major poultry producer in the United States to be certified by the American Humane Association, witnessed an increase of 70 percent for sales, and maintained its position as the top-rated brand of fresh chicken in the Western United States.
Just this year, Foster Farms also became the No. 1 brand for frozen cooked chicken in the Western United States.
As President and CEO, Foster oversaw more than 10,000 employees at Foster Farms. With this management, the company initiated a campaign to oppose plumping, which is the practice of adding weight to raw poultry by injecting it with saltwater, chicken stock, seaweed extract, or a combination of all three.
During his tenure, Foster also witnessed the salmonella outbreak in 2013. At the time, the United States Department of Agriculture issued a public health alert regarding raw chicken that was packaged at three Foster Farms facilities in California.
In response, Foster Farms executives including Foster announced that the company underwent rigorous measures that cut Salmonella contamination in their raw cut-up chicken to approximately 2 percent, a number dramatically lower than the national industry average at 25 percent.
With Foster’s announcement, the search for a new President and CEO has commenced. Until the transition is fully complete with his successor, Foster will continue on as President and CEO.