Smithfield Foods taps chief HR officer, general counsel
Bennett, Checkovich named executives
Virginia-based Smithfield Foods Inc. has named a new chief human resources officer and a new general counsel, the nation’s largest pork product manufacturer and hog producer announced Tuesday.
Isham “Jay” Bennett was previously vice president of human resources at Lockheed Martin before joining Smithfield Foods as chief human resources officer in March. In a role new to Smithfield, Bennett will report to the president and CEO and is responsible for developing and executing a talent strategy, as well as leading the company’s recruiting, retention, training, development, and diversity, equity and inclusion programs.
Before Bennett was at Lockheed Martin, he was in similar roles at Sikorsky and Rolls-Royce plc and served in leadership positions with United Technologies Corp. and General Motors. He has a bachelor’s degree from DePauw University and law degree from Indiana University School of Law.
Tennille Checkovich has been promoted to Smithfield Foods’ general counsel, after joining the company in 2020. She most recently served as the company’s deputy general counsel for litigation. Checkovich will report to Mike Flemming, the company’s chief legal officer. In her new role, she will manage all litigation involving Smithfield Foods, oversee risk mitigation efforts related to regulatory and compliance issues and assist the chief legal officer with managing the legal team.
Before joining Smithfield Foods, Checkovich was an equity partner at McGuireWoods LLP in its business and securities litigation department. She also served as an attorney at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York, handling securities litigation and white collar defense issues for Fortune 100 companies. She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Virginia and her law degree from Yale University School of Law. She serves on the boards of directors of the Legal Aid Justice Center and Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. Last year, she won three awards from the Virginia Access to Justice Commission, a project of the Virginia Supreme Court, for her pro bono work.
Both will be based in Smithfield.