April 10/Salisbury, Md./Press Release -- Jim Perdue, chairman of Perdue Farms, has announced that Jim Leighton has been promoted to president of Perdue Food Products, effective April 1, 2012.

“This is an exciting and challenging time for our food products business as we continue to elevate our products and build on our heritage,” said Jim Perdue. “I know I can count on Jim’s leadership and experience. Jim is a champion of Our Vision to become the most trusted name in food and agricultural products and he will lead by Our Values: Quality, Integrity, Teamwork and Stewardship.”

Leighton joined Perdue in 2006 in the newly created role of senior vice president, Supply Chain and Operations. While in that role, he spearheaded the development of the Perdue Business Improvement Process, which engages associates in the continuous improvement process. He was promoted to Foodservice Division president in 2009 and later assumed additional responsibility for the International channel. He was promoted to retail president in 2010.

He has more than 25 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods industry. Prior to joining Perdue, he was senior vice president of operations at ConAgra Foods, and held positions of increasing responsibility with Hain Celestial Food Group, Celestial Seasonings Inc., Nabisco and Richland Bakeries Inc. He was president, chief executive officer and founder of National Health Management Inc. doing business in Evanston, Ill.; Westwood, Beverly Hills and Encino, Calif.

He graduated from the University of Iowa, earning a bachelor of arts’ degree in business administration and industrial relations. He earned his master’s degree in business administration from Keller Graduate School of Management in Chicago.

He is a member of the board of directors of the National Chicken Council; he serves on the executive committee of the National Turkey Federation; he is a member of the board of directors of Smart Balance Inc., where he holds positions as a member of the Compensation Committee and is chairman of the Finance Committee; he serves on the Foundation Board and Corporate Board of Directors at Atlantic General Hospital; and is a senior faculty member at Keller Graduate School of Business Administration.

 From the April 11, 2012, Prepared Foods’ Daily News