updated 1/6/2011 1:17:24 PM ET 2011-01-06T18:17:24

SPRINGDALE, Ark., Jan. 6, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) President and CEO Donnie Smith today provided the following additional information, in light of the passing of former Chairman and CEO Don Tyson:

After ending his active day to day involvement with the operations of Tyson Foods, Inc., Don continued to serve as a consultant and on the company's Board of Directors, and was also the managing general partner of the Tyson Limited Partnership (TLP). With his death, the TLP will maintain effective control of Tyson Foods, Inc., with management of the TLP residing with a small group of Tyson family members, former Tyson executives, and trusted confidants of Don Tyson.

"The current leadership of our company, from Donnie Smith and Jim Lochner on down, has the total support of me and the other Tyson board members as well as all those associated with the  Tyson Limited Partnership," said son and Chairman of the Board John Tyson. "Our company just had a very successful year, and with the outstanding board of directors and very strong leadership team we now have in place, we expect the future to be bright for all our team members, shareholders and other stakeholders. That is what my father worked for his whole life and it's what those of us still involved with the company intend to deliver."

The TLP owns 70,000,000 shares of the Class B Common Stock of the Company, and 3,000,000 shares of its Class A Common Stock. Unless and until a new managing general partner of the TLP is chosen, these shares will be voted by a majority vote of the percentage interests of the general partners of the TLP. Those general partners, who collectively have a 1.257% interest in the TLP, and their general partnership percentage interests are:

  1. The Tyson Partnership Interest (TPI) Trust with 44.44% of the general partner interests in the TLP. The trustees of the TPI Trust are Leland Tollett, Harry C. Erwin, III, and Thomas B. Schueck. The TPI Trust terminates December 31, 2016. Upon termination of the TPI Trust, the general partnership interest held by the TPI Trust will transfer to the Donald J. Tyson Revocable Trust whose trustees are Thomas B. Schueck, Harry C. Erwin III and John Tyson.
  2. John Tyson with 33.33% of the general partner interests in the TLP.
  3. Barbara Tyson with 11.115% of the general partner interests in the TLP.
  4. Harry C. Erwin, III with 11.115% of the general partner interests in the TLP.

The Tyson 2009 Family Trust continues to hold a 53.4881% interest as a limited partner in the TLP and the Randal W. Tyson Testamentary Trust continues to hold a 45.2549% interest as a limited partner in the TLP.

Leland Tollett is the retired Chairman and CEO of Tyson Foods, Inc. who worked with Don Tyson from 1959 until he retired in 1998 and served on the company's Board of directors from 1984 until 2008. He also came back and served as Interim President and CEO for 10 months in 2009.

Harry C. Erwin, III, is the Managing Partner of Erwin & Company, a Little Rock, Arkansas based accounting firm that has performed consulting and tax related services for both the Tyson family and Tyson Foods for many years.

Thomas B. Schueck is the Chairman and CEO of Lexicon, Inc., a Little Rock, Arkansas based steel fabrication, engineering and construction company. He is a very successful Arkansas business leader and is a long time friend and confidant of Don Tyson.

"My sisters, my children, Barbara Tyson and I are truly saddened by the loss of our father, as are many, many friends, business associates and Tyson team members," said John Tyson. "He was a true visionary who led Tyson Foods from a small regional chicken company to a multi-billion dollar food processing enterprise. He will be missed by everyone who knew him. An era has passed, but Tyson Foods and the Tyson family remain committed to the City of Springdale where our corporate headquarters is located, all our plant communities and other stakeholders."

The Tyson Foods, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=3224

CONTACT:  Gary Mickelson

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