Pilgrim's Pride, the nation's second largest chicken processor, will open the new year with new leaders.

After guiding the Pittsburg, Texas, company out of bankruptcy reorganization, President & CEODon Jacksonwill be promoted effective, Jan. 2, 2011 to similar posts at Pilgrim's parent company,JBS USA, a Greeley, Colo.-based beef and pork processor. In turn, Pilgrim's said it hired industry veteranWilliam W. Lovetteas president & CEO, effective Jan. 3.

Officials said Lovette will report to Jackson, and Jackson will report to Wesley M. Batista, who will remain chair of JBS USA and Pilgrim's Pride.

JBS said Lovette, 50, has served as president and chief operating officer of chicken producer Case Foods Inc. since 2008 and previously was with Tyson Foods Inc. for 25 years in senior management positions.

Jackson was named CEO and president of Pilgrim's Pride in 2008 and guided the company through bankruptcy reorganization, which led to the JBS ownership position. He previously was president of the chicken and turkey operations at Foster Farms and prior to that was with ConAgra Poultry Co. and Seaboard Farms.

"Bill is exceptionally qualified to lead Pilgrim's and our 41,000 employees to even greater success in the years ahead," said Jackson. "He brings a tremendous breadth of industry experience and a proven track record of success to this role. He has a deep knowledge of the poultry business and the market environment, and we believe that he will lead Pilgrim's to continued growth and profitability."

Pilgrim's employs approximately 41,000 people and operates chicken processing plants and prepared-foods facilities in 12 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and Mexico.