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Campbell CEO retires and sales cool down again



Campbell soup
Co.


CPB -0.66%

said that

Denise Morrison

he retires immediately after seven years as CEO and can sell some brands after a bet on fresher food did not revive sales.

Campbell's sales have decreased in each of the last three fiscal years. Efforts to acquire and introduce new products such as Bolthouse Farms juice and Garden Fresh Gourmet sauce have not reversed the slippage. In its fiscal third quarter, Campbell reported Friday a $ 393 million loss in sales of $ 2.13 billion.

Campbell's shares fell 3.8% in pre-market operations, as the company also lowered its profit guidance for the year.

Campbell said that Ms. Morrison, 64, will be replaced by a board member by now

Keith McLoughlin

while the company performs a review of its product portfolio.

Mr. McLaughlin, who is 61, said Friday that Campbell's board will use that review to consider selling some brands, which in addition to soup include Pepperidge Farm cookies and V8 juices. "We must take a new look … urgently," McLaughlin said in a conference call. "Everything is on the table." There are no sacred cows. "

Campbell's other packaged food pillars are under intense pressure to serve customers looking for healthier and more convenient foods.As well as its rivals, Campbell has made acquisitions to grow beyond of its oldest and best-known products.

"Our company has clearly faced challenges," said McLoughlin, who has been on Campbell's board since 2016. "Some of them are derived from our execution."

Ms. Morrison tried to diversify Campbell's business during her seven-year tenure as executive director to counter the decline of her more traditional foods like pasta sauce and spaghetti Prego In 2012 Campbell bought Bolthouse Farms, which makes small carrots and juices A year later, he bought the brand of children's food Plum Organics, then the Garden Fresh Gourmet sauce and last year, the organic soups from Pacific Foods.

Campbell announced in December that it would acquire Snyder & # 39; s-Lance Inc. for $ 6,100 million, including debt, its largest agreement to date. Ms. Morrison boasted at the time that she would expand Campbell's product line to everything from "soup to nuts."

Ms. Morrison has said that it was difficult to push for a traditional, centennial company to take risks. But some risks did not pay off, as Mrs. Morrison expected. Fresh foods have proven difficult to obtain when the weather affects crops. Campbell had to remove some drinks from stores during the food safety scares. The expansion in the new business hurt Campbell's profits, while its major brands, including the US soup, continued to falter.

"Campbell has had a mixed record with past acquisitions," said RBC Capital Markets analyst David Palmer.

Ms. Morrison's departure further thins the ranks of women who run large American companies. Without Ms. Morrison, women now only manage 23 S & P 500 companies, or 4.6% of the total, according to Catalyst, a research group.

Your departure occurs only weeks later

Margo Georgiadis

left

Mattel
Inc.

after a year at work. Ms. Georgiadis, who had been hired

Alphabet
Inc. & # 39; s

Unit of Google, has not been able to reverse a fall in sales at the toy manufacturer. Other high-profile women to leave CEO positions in the last year include

Irene Rosenfeld,

who got off the helm to

Mondelez International
Inc.

in November, and

Avon Products
Inc. & # 39; s

Sheri McCoy,

who left in February

Meg Whitman

He also recently resigned as head of

Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Co.

after a six-year career, and Staples Inc. replaced Shira Goodman as its CEO earlier this year.

Write to us Annie Gasparro at annie.gasparro@wsj.com

.


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