Pilgrim's Pride Corp. has promoted marketing executive of Robert Wright to the position of chief operating officer.

Wright, previously executive vice president of sales and marketing, a position he held since June 2004, succeeds Clinton Rivers, who was became the company's president and CEO earlier this month.

"Bob has the ideal background and experience to lead this new reporting structure," said Rivers. " His combination of operations and sales experience will prove invaluable as we work to position the company for sustained, profitable growth."

Under the new structure, four senior division vice presidents will have overall responsibility for sales, operations and quality assurance in their respective lines of business.

Pilgrim's Pride also announced the promotion of Shane Butler to the position of senior division vice president of prepared foods.

This month, Pilgrim's Pride decided to close a chicken processing complex and six of its 13 distribution centres in the US.

The closures will lead to the loss of 1,100 jobs and are part of the company's plan to curtail losses amid record-high ingredients costs and the oversupply of chicken in the US.