Sean Connolly previously was president and c.e.o. of Hillshire Brands.

OMAHA -- Sean M. Connolly will become chief executive officer of ConAgra Foods, Inc., effective April 6, the company announced today. The announcement came six months to the day after Gary M. Rodkin announced plans to retire as c.e.o. at the end of the fiscal year in May. Mr. Rodkin will serve as a senior advisor to the company between April 6 and the end of May.  

Most recently Mr. Connolly was president and c.e.o. of The Hillshire Brands Co. from the time the company was created as a spin-off from Sara Lee Corp. in 2012 until its sale to Tyson Foods in August 2014. He joined Sara Lee in January 2012 as c.e.o. of the company’s North American Retail and Foodservice business. Before that he was president of Campbell Soup North America.

“We are thrilled to have Sean join ConAgra Foods as our new c.e.o.,” said Steve Goldstone, chairman of the ConAgra board of directors. “His track record of building brands, energizing teams, and creating value makes him an ideal fit. We are confident he will infuse focus and enthusiasm at ConAgra Foods.”

Gary Rodkin announced plans to retire as c.e.o. of ConAgra at the end of the fiscal year in May.

Mr. Goldstone also had kind works for the retiring c.e.o.

“Our company was a very different place in 2005 when Gary arrived, and we sincerely appreciate his vision and tenacity in making huge strides in the company’s portfolio and performance,” he said. “We expect a smooth transition from Gary to Sean over the next several months.”

Mr. Connolly’s career also included time in the food and beverage division at Procter & Gamble. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Vanderbilt University and an M.B.A. from the University of Texas. He will join ConAgra Foods March 3 as c.e.o.-elect, beginning his work with Mr. Rodkin on the leadership transition.