Campbell Soup Co.- 2010

by Staff
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Changes are in store for Camden, N.J.-based Campbell Soup Co., which in late September disclosed that Douglas R. Conant, president and chief executive officer since January 2001, intends to step down from his role as c.e.o. at the end of the company’s fiscal year on July 31, 2011.

Denise Morrison, a former top executive at Nabisco and Kraft Foods Inc., has been named executive vice-president and chief operating officer, effective Oct. 1, in anticipation of her succeeding Mr. Conant as head of the company.

Ms. Morrison, who has 35 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods industry, will look to build on Mr. Conant’s leadership over the past decade.

In addition to Ms. Morrison’s promotion, several other leadership changes were announced at Campbell, including Sean Connolly, currently president of Campbell USA, who will succeed Ms. Morrison as president of the North America Soup, Sauces and Beverages division; Mark Alexander, currently senior vice-president and chief customer officer, who will become president of Campbell International; and Irene Change Britt, currently president of North America Foodservice, who will become senior vicepresident — chief strategy officer.

From a financial perspective, the company had earnings of $844 million in the year ended Aug. 1, equal to $2.42 per share on the common stock, up 15% from $736 million, or $2.05 per share, during fiscal 2009. Sales for the year were $7,676 million, up 1% from $7,586 million during the previous year.

“In a challenging year, we delivered strong earnings growth, overcoming softer-than-expected sales, particularly in our U.S. soup business,” Mr. Conant said.

Pepperidge Farm sales were comparable to a year ago, and the acquisition of Ecce Panis, Inc. and volume gains were offset by increased promotional spending, the company said. Apart from the acquisition, sales from the bakery business declined, reflecting increased promotional spending partly offset by volume gains. In cookies and crackers sales were also comparable to the previous year as gains in Goldfish were offset by a decline in cookies.

In September, Campbell announced that by February 2011 80% of its portfolio of Pepperidge Farm bread, rolls and bagels will have at least 25% less sodium than the regular products. Overall, 69 varieties of products will see further sodium reduction. About half of all Pepperidge Farms sliced bread is already 25% lower in sodium than regular sliced bread, according to the company.

This summer Campbell announced future plans to grow its core businesses in healthy beverages, baked snacks and simple meals, and the company said it expects to drive superior sales growth in healthy beverages and baked snacks through increased innovation and higher levels of marketing support. The company also plans to drive sales in simple meals by expanding its global soup leadership position, stepped-up innovation and more emphasis on emerging markets such as Russia and China.

The company also has increased efforts to reduce sodium in soups by announcing in June that the company began to ship 21 varieties of Campbell’s condensed soups nationwide at sodium levels reduced 25% to 45% from previous levels. By the fall, the company offered more than 200 reducedsodium products, an eight-fold increase from five years ago. In February, the company also announced plans to boost performance of condensed soups by enhancing more than 60% of its line with product improvements, further sodium reduction, more contemporary packaging, improved shelving systems and new marketing aimed at the simple meals category. CP


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