Campbell Settles Investor Tiff, Eyes New CEO

By Pan Demetrakakes, Senior Editor

Nov 29, 2018

Campbell Soup has reached an accommodation with a hedge fund investor who was looking to take over the direction of the company, and it’s eyeing a potential new chief.

Two board seats will be allocated to Third Point, an investment firm that owns about 7% of Campbell. Campbell had been locked in a battle with Third Point’s head, Daniel Loeb, for months, with Loeb insisting that the company replace the entire board as a preparation for a complete restructuring and change of direction.

Under the agreement, Campbell’s board will increase from 12 to 14 members, and the two new members come from the slate proposed by Third Point: Sarah Hofstetter, president of media-evaluation company Comscore, and Kurt Schmidt, former director and CEO of pet-food marketer Blue Buffalo Company Ltd.

In addition, the Wall Street Journal reports that Campbell is considering Mark Clouse, former CEO of Pinnacle Foods, as a replacement for CEO Denise Morrison, who resigned under fire in May. Clouse, a food industry veteran, headed Pinnacle until it was purchased by Conagra Brands last month. The Journal reports that although the decision is pending, Clouse is the top candidate in a replacement process that was slowed by the tiff with Third Point. The company is currently headed by interim CEO Keith McLoughlin.