New CEO Dean Banks Tops Tyson Foods’ Big Earners

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Three executives at Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale earned more than $10 million in total compensation in fiscal 2020, according to a filing Wednesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

CEO Dean Banks was the company’s top earner, taking home more than $12.7 million in 2020; his compensation for the previous fiscal year was not reported. Banks took over as CEO on Oct. 3, the same day Tyson Foods’ fiscal year ended, after serving on the company’s board since 2017 and as president since 2019.

Banks’ compensation included $920,662 in base salary, stock and option awards of more than $4.6 million and $1.3 million in incentives. Banks also received a $5 million bonus that required him to establish a permanent residence in northwest Arkansas. 

Noel White, the man Banks replaced as CEO, earned total compensation of a smidgen less than $11 million, an increase from the $10.4 million he earned in 2019. White’s compensation included a base salary of $1.29 million, stock and option awards of $7 million and $1.85 million in incentives.

White’s total compensation was measured at 294-to-1 compared to the median pay of Tyson Foods’ employees. Tyson Foods said the median pay of its 119,915 U.S. employees was $37,444; Tyson Foods said it has 138,849 employees in 33 countries but used an exemption to exclude foreign workers in the median pay ratio.

Chairman of the Board John Tyson earned total compensation of $11.2 million, up from $10.3 million he earned in 2019. John Tyson’s compensation included a salary of $1.23 million, stock and option awards of $6.5 million and $1.76 million in incentives. 

The company reported John Tyson’s use of company aircraft and event tickets was valued at $1.3 million.

CFO Stewart Glendinning earned total compensation of $3.9 million in 2020, up from $3.7 million the previous year. Glendinning’s compensation included a salary of $817,000, stock and option awards of slightly more than $2 million and $852,500 in incentives.

Chris Langholz, a first-time named executive as the president of the company’s international division, earned total compensation of $8.85 million. Langholz joined Tyson in 2019 after 24 years at Cargill and his compensation included $580,000 in salary, $608,000 in incentives and more than $6.7 million in stock.

Tyson Foods said Langholz was given more stock as compensation for what he forfeited when he joined Tyson Foods.

Tyson Foods also reported that its shareholders meeting would be held virtually at 10 a.m. on Feb. 11. Shareholders will vote on the company’s 15-person board of directors, to ratify PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as the company’s independent accounting firm and vote on three shareholders’ proposals.

The company’s board was 12 members in 2019 but the directors voted three times to expand in 2020, adding former company general counsel Les Baledge in February, retired FedEx COO David Bronczek in May and nominating Maria Claudia Borras, executive vice president at Baker Hughes Co., in November.

Tyson Foods’ board of directors oppose all three shareholders proposals on the ballots. The first would require the company to report on its due diligence on human rights, the second would change shareholders voting to one vote per share and the third would require the company to fully disclose its lobbying expenditures.