Beyond Meat suspended Chief Operating Officer Doug Ramsey after his arrest on charges related to what police say was a road rage-inspired physical altercation after a University of Arkansas football game on Saturday.
According to reporting from local TV news station KNWA, Ramsey was charged with terroristic threatening and third-degree battery. A police report cited by the television station said Ramsey punched through the back windshield of another vehicle that inched in front of his vehicle while exiting the parking garage, making contact with his passenger-side tire. The report said the other driver got out of his vehicle and Ramsey pulled him close, punching his body and biting his nose, ripping flesh off the tip. The victim and witnesses said they heard Ramsey “threaten to kill” the driver.
Ramsey was booked into the jail in Washington County, Arkansas, and has a court appearance scheduled on Oct. 19.
In its statement, Beyond Meat gave no dates or conditions about Ramsey’s suspension, but said Senior Vice President of Manufacturing Operations Jonathan Nelson will oversee operations activities in the interim.
Ramsey joined Beyond Meat in December, following a 30-year career at meat giant Tyson. He served in a wide variety of positions at the meat company, including as head of retail poultry operations and president of McDonald’s business. At the time of his hire, he was seen as an experienced operator who could help Beyond Meat come through a rough period, as sales of plant-based meat were beginning to slow and the high growth rate the company had seen was quickly moderating.
Since Ramsey came aboard, there have been few improvements in Beyond Meat’s finances and business outlook. Growth has not returned to its previous levels. In March, the company released a new plant-based jerky product through its joint venture with PepsiCo, but the equipment and internal work necessary for a brand new type of product at a massive distribution scale led to an immediate net loss of more than $100 million. As the company tried to focus on growth in the face of the current inflationary climate, it laid off about 4% of its workforce in efforts to keep internal costs down.
Nelson, who has been with Beyond Meat for a year and five months, served as interim chief operating officer for seven months last year, prior to Ramsey’s hiring. He previously spent nine years at SunOpta, serving as vice president of plant-based food and beverage operations, and before that in manufacturing and operations roles for paper packaging maker Pactiv Evergreen.