The board of poultry group Pilgrim's Pride has elected Lonnie Ken Pilgrim to succeed his father Lonnie "Bo" Pilgrim as the company's chairman.

Lonnie Pilgrim, Snr, the company's co-founder, will remain as senior chairman and retain a seat on the board.

Ken Pilgrim, 49, has worked for Pilgrim's Pride since 1977, and has been executive vice president, assistant to chairman since November 2004. He has been a member of the board of directors since 1985.

"The appointment of Ken to chairman is part of an orderly succession plan by the board that should be largely seamless and invisible to our employees, customers and shareholders," said Bo Pilgrim.

"Ken has literally grown up in the chicken industry, learning every aspect of the business from the ground up. He has great instincts and a keen understanding of what it takes to grow this company."