Tyson Foods (TSN) shares fell almost 15% after reporting lower-than-expected earnings and revenue for the 2016 fourth quarter and saying that CEO Donnie Smith will step down at the end of the year.
Shares of the processed and prepared food company dropped about $9.74 to $57.62 on heavy trading volume early Monday afternoon. Already today, about 19.46 million share have been traded compared with the company's average trading volume of 3.12 million shares a day.
Tyson's president Tom Hayes, 51, will succeed Smith, 56, who has been CEO since November 2009 and with the company for 36 years.
"The timing I think from everybody's perspective actually couldn't be better, given the great shape...Donnie has brought the company to," Hayes said on the company's earnings conference call this morning.
Smith will be available to advise Tyson for three years following his December 31 departure. Smith's compensation as a consultant will be disclosed in SEC filings, a company spokesperson said.
Hayes previously served as the chief supply chain officer for The Hillshire Brands Company, which Tyson bought in 2014 for about $7.7 billion.
At the time, many investors believed Tyson overpaid for the Chicago-based food company, TheStreet's Jim Cramer said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" this morning.
But Smith helped Tyson prove that the company wasn't strictly a commodity food provider but a proprietary food producer, and investors appear concerned about his upcoming retirement, Cramer said.
For the fourth quarter, the Springdale, Ark.-based company reported adjusted earnings of 96 cents a share, up from 83 cents a share in the year-ago period but short of the FactSet consensus of $1.16 a share.
Revenue declined about 12.8% year-over-year to $9.16 billion amid lower beef prices and Tyson's transition toward more value-added chicken products. Analysts surveyed by FactSet were looking for $9.40 billion.
For fiscal 2017, Tyson expects adjusted per-share earnings growth between 7% and 10%. Analysts are modeling adjusted earnings of $4.99 for the year, representing growth of 14% from $4.39 in fiscal 2016.