Plant-based food maker Beyond Meat said Tuesday it has suspended its chief operating officer after he was accused of a violent road-rage confrontation at the University of Arkansas.
The California-based company said in a statement that COO Doug Ramsey, 53, was suspended effective immediately; a senior vice president will assume his duties on temporary basis.
Ramsey allegedly punched a motorist and bit his nose so forcefully that it ripped his flesh, according to a preliminary police report obtained by NBC affiliate KNWA of Fayetteville. That account was based on observations and input from the arresting officer, witnesses and the victim, the report indicated.
Ramsey didn't respond to a request for comment sent in care of Beyond Meat's public relations representatives.
Nearly $12,000 bond was posted to secure Ramsey's release Sunday, according to inmate information posted by the Washington County Sheriff's Office.
Ramsey was booked late Saturday based on allegations of third-degree battery and making terrorist threats, according to the sheriff's office.
The arresting officer said in the report that Ramsey had accused the victim of causing his vehicle to make contact with the front passenger-side tire of Ramsey’s SUV as the victim's vehicle inched into a line of cars exiting a parking garage at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
The University of Arkansas football team had just defeated Missouri State University 38-27.
Ramsey is alleged to have punched through the rear window of the victim's vehicle, described as a Subaru, and then pulled the man closer to him before he punched and bit him, according to the report.
"Mr. Ramsey also bit the owner’s nose, ripping the flesh on the tip of the nose," the officer wrote. "The owner and the witness also heard Mr. Ramsey threaten to kill the owner of the Subaru."
Bystanders separated the men, the report said, and Ramsey was arrested. It wasn't clear whether the victim needed hospitalization.
Ramsey was announced as Beyond Meat's new chief operating officer in early December. He had spent nearly 30 years at the country's top meat producer, Tyson Foods, which is based in Springdale, a city adjacent to Fayetteville.
According to his bio at Tyson, he worked in the poultry business through most of his time at the company. He also briefly headed Tyson's business dealings with McDonald's.
A Dec. 8 Securities and Exchange Commission filing announcing Ramsey's hiring says $450,000 in "sign-on" bonus cash would have to be repaid if he and the company part ways before his first anniversary. An additional $275,000 in sign-on bonus cash would be available in his second year at Beyond Meat, it states. His annual salary, $475,000, could be doubled with performance-based bonuses, according to the filing.
Beyond Meat, which says the concept of everyday but impactful "positive choices" is core to its mission, is based in El Segundo, near Los Angeles International Airport.
It's not clear whether Ramsey moved to Los Angeles or works remotely from Arkansas. The police report said he is a resident of Fayetteville.