US poultry producer Pilgrim’s Pride has announced that CEO David Van Hoose is to retire and O.B. Goolsby, currently executive vice president of prepared food operations, is to be promoted to the role of president and chief operating officer.

No successor has yet been named for the position of chief executive officer. The company has said that Van Hoose will take an active role in the transition of responsibility in the next several months and will serve the company as a consultant following his retirement, which is to take place on 29 March 2003.

The news comes amid the aftermath of a massive recall that Pilgrim’s Pride carried out after listeria bacteria was discovered at one of its plants.

In October, Pilgrim’s Pride recalled 27 million pounds of its poultry products from its Wampler Food’s processing plant in Franconia, Pennsylvania. A strain of listeria found at the plant was found to be the same as a strain that caused seven deaths and around 50 illnesses in the northeastern US this year. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the plant was the most likely source of the outbreak.