Smithfield Foods names chief human resources officer, general counsel

Bennett to take on newly created role; Checkovich promoted to general counsel.

March 27, 2023

2 Min Read
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Smithfield Foods

Smithfield Foods named Isham "Jay" Bennett to the newly created role of chief human resources officer, and promoted Tennille Checkovich to general counsel.

"I'm excited to welcome Jay and Tennille to their new roles," said Shane Smith, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods. "Jay's human resources leadership in the manufacturing industry is unparalleled, and Tennille's continued work to elevate Smithfield's culture of legal and regulatory compliance has been exemplary. I look forward to their contributions to enhancing Smithfield's high-performance culture and legal and regulatory compliance aligned with our business strategy."

Bennett, a senior human resources leader in manufacturing operations, will serve as Smithfield's chief human resources officer, reporting to the president and chief executive officer. In this newly created role, Bennett is responsible for developing and executing a comprehensive talent strategy that further aligns Smithfield's business plan with its human resources function, and will lead the company's recruiting, retention, training and development, and diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

Prior to joining Smithfield, Bennett served as vice president of human resources for Lockheed Martin Corporation's $16 billion Rotary and Mission Systems business, and as vice president of human resources for Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company. He previously served as vice president of human resources for Rolls-Royce plc, where he developed and executed people strategy for the £2 billion global defense aerospace business and held prior senior leadership positions with United Technologies Corporation and General Motors. Bennett holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from DePauw University and a Juris Doctor from Indiana University School of Law.

Checkovich, a 20-year veteran of litigation and risk mitigation, has been promoted to general counsel, reporting to Mike Flemming, Smithfield's chief legal officer. She joined Smithfield in 2020 and most recently served as the company's deputy general counsel for litigation. In her new role as general counsel, Checkovich is responsible for managing all litigation involving the company, overseeing risk mitigation efforts related to a wide range of regulatory and compliance issues and assisting the chief legal officer with management of the legal team.

Prior to joining Smithfield, Checkovich was an equity partner at McGuireWoods LLP in its business and securities litigation department. She previously served as an attorney at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York, handling securities litigation and white-collar defense issues for Fortune 100 public companies.

Checkovich holds a Bachelor of Arts with Highest Distinction in economics from the University of Virginia and a Juris Doctor from Yale University School of Law. She is a member of the board of directors of the Legal Aid Justice Center, which promotes racial, social and economic justice, and is secretary and a board member for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. Checkovich received three awards in 2022 from the Virginia Access to Justice Commission, a project of the Virginia Supreme Court, for her pro bono work.

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