December 17, 2007 / 10:23 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 2-Pilgrim's Pride CEO dead after stroke

(Adds comment from trade association, updates share price)

NEW YORK, Dec 17 (Reuters) - U.S. chicken producer Pilgrim’s Pride Corp PPC.N said on Monday that its chief executive officer, O.B. Goolsby Jr, died after suffering a massive stroke on Saturday while on a hunting trip in South Texas.

He was 60 years old.

“O.B. was a respected, gifted executive who helped guide Pilgrim’s Pride through a period of historic growth with candor, honesty and a wonderful sense of humor,” said Lonnie “Bo” Pilgrim, senior chairman and co-founder of Pilgrim’s Pride, the largest chicken producer in the United States.

The board of directors will appoint a special committee to begin the process of selecting a replacement, though no timetable has been set.

Goolsby, who first joined the company in 1969, rose to become president and CEO in September 2004. He previously served as president and chief operating officer. Under his leadership, the company became the largest U.S. chicken producer.

“O.B. Goolsby, Jr., was an outstanding leader in the poultry industry and gave unstintingly of his own time and effort. He was Secretary-Treasurer of the National Chicken Council and a member of the NCC board of directors and the executive committee,” George Watts, president of the National Chicken Council, said in a statement. “He was a man of faith, integrity and calm judgment. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.”

Goolsby is survived by his wife, Barbara, three children and 11 grandchildren.

Shares of Pilgrim’s Pride, based in Pittsburg, Texas, closed down 66 cents, or 2.4 percent, on Monday at $26.92 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Gary Hill)

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