Tyson Foods heir suspended as CFO after second alcohol-related arrest

Tyson Foods suspended its chief financial officer – a great-grandson of the company’s founder – after his arrest Thursday on charges of driving while intoxicated.

John R. Tyson, 34, was arrested early Thursday by University of Arkansas police in Fayetteville, Arkansas, according to police records. He was also charged with careless driving and making an illegal turn.

Tyson was released from custody later Thursday on a $1,105 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on July 15.

Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson Foods said in a statement Thursday that it was aware of the arrest and immediately suspended John R. Tyson. He is the son of Tyson Foods Chairman John H. Tyson and a former investment banker who joined Tyson Foods in 2019.

Tyson Foods named Curt Calaway as its interim chief financial officer. Calaway has had an 18-year career at Tyson, most recently serving as treasurer and senior vice president of finance and corporate development.

It was the second time in less than two years that John R. Tyson was arrested on alcohol-related charges. In November 2022, he was charged with public intoxication and criminal trespassing after allegedly entering a stranger’s home in Fayetteville and falling asleep in her bed.

John R. Tyson sent a companywide email apologizing for that incident, saying he was embarrassed and was getting counseling for alcohol abuse. He later pleaded guilty to those charges and settled them by paying fines and court fees.

Arun Sundaram, an equity analyst with the financial research firm CFRA, said John R. Tyson had been considered a potential future CEO, a role that historically has been held by Tyson family members. But Sundaram said there are now “legitimate concerns about his ability to continue as an executive officer.”

Sundaram said Calaway would be “an excellent choice for Tyson's permanent CEO should the company decide to part ways with John R. Tyson.”

Tyson shares fell 1.5% to close at $53.86 Thursday.