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Tyson Foods CFO arrested for public intoxication

Tyson Foods
Tyson Foods
The Tyson Foods headquarters in Springdale, Ark.

John R. Tyson, the chief financial officer of Springdale-based Tyson Foods, was arrested early Sunday morning on misdemeanor charges of public intoxication and criminal trespassing.

According to a preliminary arrest report obtained by Talk Business & Politics content partner KNWA-TV, Tyson, 32, became intoxicated and fell asleep in a home near Dickson Street in downtown Fayetteville. He was allegedly in the bed of a woman who called police after finding Tyson, whom she did not know.

The woman told dispatchers she believed the front door had been left unlocked, which is how he gained entry. Upon arrival, police located Tyson in the back bedroom with his clothes in front of the bed and identified him through his driver’s license.

According to the report, police attempted to wake Tyson and speak with him, but he could not verbally respond. After briefly sitting up, Tyson laid back down and tried to go back to sleep.

The report states there was an odor of alcohol on his breath and body, and his movements appeared sluggish and uncoordinated.

Tyson was recently promoted to chief financial officer and executive vice president when Stewart Glendinning left the position to run the meat giant’s prepared foods business. At 32, the fourth-generation Tyson family executive drew mixed results from Wall Street analysts despite his formal education and previous work in finance before joining the company full-time in 2019 as chief sustainability officer.

Tyson is considerably younger than the average CFO age of 54 of the top 1,000 companies in the U.S.

Nicole Coomber, a dean and professor of corporate management at the University of Maryland, noted at the time of Tyson’s promotion that even when executives have sufficient education, a lack of experience can be a slippery slope. She said there is no substitute for experience.

When family members are also executives for public companies, there is a risk of blind spots and jeopardizing transparency for shareholders, Coomber said.

Tyson is also on the board of directors of Winrock International and a Council on Foreign Relations member.

Company spokesman Derek Burleson released a statement Monday to Talk Business & Politics saying, "We’re aware of the incident, and as this is a personal matter, we have no additional comment."