Leading kosher chicken producer Empire Kosher Poultry has unexpectedly fired its chief executive officer after company higher-ups nixed his plans to acquire another kosher poultry firm.
The Mifflintown, Pa. company saw a dramatic improvement in its fortunes starting approximately one year after Greg Rosenbaum came on board as CEO in 2006.
According to Rosenbaum, he was terminated because he and Empire’s partners had a “disagreement” on the firm’s strategy and direction. Rosenbaum claimed that tensions began when the partners vetoed a complex acquisition deal he had been negotiating for some time with MVP Kosher Foods, the second largest kosher poultry supplier in the United States.
Mark Honigsfeld of MVP Kosher related that – following his overture to Rosenbaum in May – the two poultry producers entered into negotiations with the awareness of both boards of directors. As a prelude to the expected acquisition, Honigsfeld said that MVP transferred its farming relationships, inventories, birds and customers to Empire Kosher. MVP closed down its plant in Birdsboro, Pa., during the summer.
On October 12, however, Honigsfeld was informed that Rosenbaum had ceased being an employee of Empire and that plans for the acquisition had been canceled. “Everything was orchestrated and arranged as if there had been a deal in place. The only thing that didn’t happen was for money to change hands,” Honigsfeld explained. “They left us with a technically bankrupt company.”
An anonymous source disclosed that MVP Kosher Foods had been experiencing significant financial difficulties and was letting thousands of chickens go to waste.
While stating that it does not comment on business negotiations or transactions, the management of Empire called the claims against it “baseless allegations” and said “we are confident that we acted properly and in good faith.” The kosher poultry producer has named Jeff Brown, its former chief operating officer, as Empire’s new president.