CAMDEN, N.J. — Denise M. Morrison has retired as the president and chief executive officer of the Campbell Soup Co., effective immediately. Keith R. McLoughlin, a member of the board of directors, has been named interim c.e.o. and the company has begun the search for a new leader.
“Denise has been a passionate advocate and leader over her 15 years with the company,” said Lee C. Vinney, chairman of the board. “She has made many important contributions over the past seven years as chief executive officer to reposition Campbell in the rapidly changing food industry.
“Denise has been able to significantly transform Campbell’s portfolio into the faster-growing snacking category with the acquisition of Snyder’s-Lance and increased the company’s focus on health and well-being with brands like Pacific Foods. Her actions have helped to enhance the long-term growth potential of Campbell. On behalf of the board, I want to thank Denise for her dedicated service and wish her the best.”
Ms. Morrison said, “I am proud of Campbell’s accomplishments and how we have transformed our portfolio amid changing consumer tastes for food and health and well-being. It has been an honor to lead this iconic company and exceptional team, and I am confident that Campbell will enjoy continued success for many years to come.”
The announcement comes on the same day the company reported poor financial results for the third quarter of fiscal 2018, ended April 29. Campbell Soup recorded a loss of $393 million during the quarter, which compared unfavorably with the same period of the previous year when the company earned $176 million, equal to 58c per share.
Sales during the quarter rose to $2,125 million from $1,853 million the previous year.
The poor results prompted the company to lower its full-year guidance.
Impacting earnings during the quarter was a pre-tax impairment charge of $619 million related to the Campbell Fresh business unit. The business has been challenged during the past few years by supply chain issues associated with carrot production and beverage production.
“Our performance has been impacted by both execution-related and external challenges,” said Anthony DiSilvestro, chief financial officer. “We are addressing these challenges with renewed urgency. Looking ahead, we will be reviewing all aspects of our strategic plans and portfolio composition. We anticipate that our review, which will take several months to complete, will lead to changes designed to improve our operating performance and create long-term shareholder value. We plan to discuss the outcome of this review when we report fourth-quarter and full-year results in late August.”
Mr. McLoughlin was president and c.e.o. of Electrolux AB, a manufacturer of household appliances, from 2011 until 2016, when he retired. Prior to joining Electrolux, he spent 22 years with the E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company.
“Having been a director and observing the company over an extended period of time, I know where Campbell has been and where it’s headed and am excited to lead the company as we continue to work to increase value for all our stakeholders,” Mr. McLoughlin said. “I am eager to begin working with our talented team as we strive to accelerate our growth strategy, improve our execution and deliver shareholder value.”