Smithfield Foods Names New Chief Human Resources Officer and General Counsel

Isham “Jay” Bennett, Chief Human Resources Officer, 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.

Shane Smith, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods, said, “I’m excited to welcome Jay and Tennille to their new roles. 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.”

Isham “Jay” Bennett, Chief Human Resources Officer

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.

Tennille Checkovich, General Counsel

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.

About Smithfield Foods, Inc.
Headquartered in Smithfield, Virginia, since 1936, Smithfield Foods, Inc. is a U.S. food company that provides more than 60,000 jobs in seven countries and partners with thousands of American farmers. As one of the world’s leading vertically integrated protein companies, we are dedicated to producing “Good food. Responsibly.®” to feed a growing world population. We have pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades, including our industry-leading commitments to become carbon negative in our U.S. company-owned operations and reduce GHG emissions 30% across our entire U.S. value chain by 2030. We believe in the power of protein to end food insecurity and have donated hundreds of millions of food servings to food banks, disaster relief efforts and community outreach programs in all 50 U.S. states. Smithfield boasts a portfolio of high-quality iconic brands, such as Smithfield®, Eckrich®, Gwaltney® and Nathan’s Famous®, among many others. For more information, visit and connect with us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.

SOURCE Smithfield Foods, Inc.