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Don Tyson's Biography Published

by 5m Editor
30 September 2008, at 8:53am

US - Don Tyson is well known for his business savvy and common khaki apparel but the 78-year old poultry icon recently shared his successful business philosophies in a new book, which was unveiled at Tyson Foods Inc. corporate headquarters this week.

Tyson's business mantra is 'I Refuse to Have a Bad Day' and he has chosen the same expression as the book's title, reports The Morning News of northwest Arkansas.

The poultry pioneer turned billionaire was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth, according to the book's author, Paul Whitley, a Tyson Foods executive for 13 years before retiring in 1997.

Don Tyson's vision is credited for helping Tyson Foods become the world's largest food company - with diversified annual sales of $26.9 billion in 2007 and one of the most recognizable brands in the food sector. When he joined the board of directors in 1952, the company had sales revenue of $1 million. When he stepped away from day-to-day management in 1995, the company had grown its sales to $5 billion.

Mr Tyson is widely know for expanding Tyson Foods outside the realm of the poultry processing business. The 1960s, 1970s and 1980s under the direction of the senior Tyson marked the company's most dramatic growth. Tyson diversified by investing in tortillas, bakery items, pork, poultry breeding, beef and seafood.

"The best part of our business acquisitions during my tenure was the people we gained in the process," Don Tyson said.

He added that when a deal is consummated, emphasis is put on the assets and business profits but without the right people, it will likely be a losing proposition.

Don Tyson said his business philosophy is simple, "Satisfied workers satisfy customers and satisfied customers satisfy shareholders."

When asked what advice he would give fellow food processing companies during this challenging operating environment, he said, "When times are this tough, companies have to tighten their belts." He said operational efficiencies have to be examined and everyone has to work a little harder.

The book is a collection of stories that he hopes captures the essence of the unique and diverse leadership style of Don Tyson, who made work a 'fun place to be'.

"Don's road to success was not a freeway of inherited wealth or years of post graduate work," wrote Mr Whitley.

Mr Whitley shared with about 80 onlookers at the book signing on 29 September that Don Tyson had a successful business relationship with those he managed in part because egos were set aside and service became the mission.

In the book, Mr Whitley said he hoped to chronicle the human side of Tyson Foods.

Don Tyson told the crowd the lessons he learned in agriculture dating back to his service in the Future Farmers of America at Springdale High School had served him invaluably throughout his lifetime. He dedicated the book to the Future Farmers of America programs across the country.

5m Editor