Murphy-Brown will soon be no more, at least in name.
The Warsaw-based company is staying put, but the name is going by the wayside with a transition firmly under the Smithfield Foods Inc. umbrella. While the company has been part of Smithfield since its inception 15 years ago, the livestock production subsidiary now also bears its parent company’s name — specifically Smithfield Hog Production Division.
The process is ongoing, with signs and vehicles still to be re-branded as “Smithfield.” No employees will be affected as a result, company officials said.
“We’ve always been part of Smithfield,” said Don Butler, vice president of government relations and public affairs for Smithfield Hog Production Division, formerly Murphy-Brown. “We’re just leaving the Murphy-Brown name behind. It’s part of a larger Smithfield initiative called ‘One Smithfield.’”
C. Larry Pope, Smithfield’s president and chief executive officer addressed that initiative in a message to the company, its investors and consumers last month.
Last year was a banner year for Smithfield, with the highest earnings in its history and best-ever overall sales of $15 billion. Moving into 2015, Pope said the new organizational structure would position Smithfield to accelerate that growth and further its mission of providing “Good food. Responsibly.”
“Where once we had separate silos, we now have a consolidated and harmonized structure. In other words, we are ‘One Smithfield,’ with a centralized organization that enables us to better meet the needs of our customers and consumers,” Pope stated in his message. “In fact, many of our key customers have been asking us to make this change for some time. This will make it even easier for them to do business with us as we continue our evolution as a consumer packaged goods company.”
The realignment, which took effect in March, unified all of Smithfield’s independent operating companies, brands and marketing efforts to put 48,000 employees under one corporate umbrella.
Pope said the realignment was not about cost cutting, but about Smithfield’s success and growth — and about maintaining and boosting that position.
“We did not close any plants or offices. Nor did we eliminate any jobs as a result. In fact, we are expanding.” Pope stated. “Our new corporate structure will better support our people, brands, and customers while positioning Smithfield to take advantage of opportunities for growth. This was a natural step that is creating a stronger company. Change is good, and we have been celebrating it.”
Butler said he wanted the community to know that signs, businesses cards and emails would change, but nothing else will.
“Nothing has changed as far as the day-to-day operations of our business,” Butler said. “The only thing that is changing is we’re adopting the Smithfield name and the Murphy-Brown name will go away.”
The Smithfield Hog Production Division has approximately 5,000 employees located in 12 states, including roughly 3,000 in North Carolina. The Warsaw-based company produces approximately 16 million market hogs each year, partnering with over 2,000 independent farmers and contract growers in the United States — about 1,250 of them in this state — to raise those hogs.
“As Larry Pope has said, all parts of Smithfield are coming under the ‘One Smithfield’ umbrella,” Butler remarked. “As far as the hog production business is concerned, we will be known as Smithfield Hog Production Division, we will remain headquartered in Warsaw and no other part of our business is changing. The day-to-day operations of the business remain unchanged.”
The company’s ongoing efforts to be a sustainable consumer packaged goods company are detailed on a new corporate website, smithfieldfoods.com, which houses information about the company, its branded products and sustainability initiatives. The new site merges together the previous smithfieldfoods.com and the company’s sustainability website, smithfieldcommitments.com, which has been discontinued.
“We’re very excited about our new website because it reflects, and supports, our evolution into ‘One Smithfield’ and our mission,” Pope stated.
Butler said the transition locally is ongoing. There will be new signs in front of the building and vehicles will be re-branded. New email addresses and business cards are already being used.
“It’s a process and we’ve already begun that process,” Butler said. “By the end of this year, that transition hopefully will be complete.”
Reach staff writer Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.