Campbell Soup names COO as part of sweeping reorganization
- Campbell Soup is restructuring to respond in part to the "rapidly changing food industry landscape." The changes will allow the food manufacturer to improve its focus on its core soup and snacks divisions, and increase its presence in health and well-being.
- Luca Mignini, who previously ran Campbell Soup's global biscuits and snacks division, which includes Pepperidge Farm and Goldfish crackers, has been named chief operating officer. "The point (of this reorganization) is more about how can we be faster and more agile, making faster decisions because that is an area where we clearly see a lot of improvement," he told Food Dive.
- The New Jersey company, whose brands include Plum Organics, V8, Prego and its iconic soups, also is creating a new "accelerator unit" to expand its presence in faster-growing spaces and to invest in high-growth areas. The division, whose focus will be to help build an "agile and dynamic operating model" for the company, will include its fresh operations, such as Bolthouse Farms and Garden Fresh, as well as its e-commerce and digital efforts.
After Campbell Soup's CEO Denise Morrison took the helm in 2011, she looked for faster-growing areas the company could enter, eventually settling on snacking and health and well-being that are popular with consumers. Since then, the nearly 150-year old company has purchased Bolthouse Farms, a maker of carrots, smoothies, juices and dressings; better-for-you baby food company Plum Organics; Garden Fresh Gourmet, bringing its refrigerated salsa, hummus and dips into its portfolio; and last summer, organic products maker Pacific Foods of Oregon.
But its boldest move yet came when Campbell Soup spent roughly $5 billion to acquire Snyder’s-Lance, the manufacturer of popular snack brands such as Pop Secret, Kettle, Cape Cod and Emerald in a deal that closed last month. It is the company's largest-ever acquisition, and its biggest bet to claim a bigger stake in the fast-growing $89 billion snacking category. Soup, which is synonymous with the company, will now only make up roughly 26% of sales, compared to snacking at nearly 50%.
The purchase of Snyder’s-Lance was a "huge catalyst" to re-examine how to organize Campbell Soup, Mignini said, which is shifting its "center of gravity" away from soups.
"We're going through significant changes both in the industry and the consumer," Mignini told Food Dive. "We are in a new world and that is really an opportunity, I believe, to have a structure that can grow much faster."
In announcing the reorganization Thursday, Campbell Soup is doubling down on the changes it has made to reposition the company in recent years as the roadmap for its future. It's optimistic it will be better able to respond to a consumer that is moving away from processed foods in favor of fresher, healthier and clean-label fare, as well as snacking.
But despite these efforts, Campbell Soup, like nearly ever other large food and beverage company in the space, has drawn skeptical assessments from Wall Street, claiming it's not moving fast enough. In just the last year alone, Campbell Soup's stock has dropped close to 30%.
Mignini, who joined Campbell Soup in 2013, said he will focus initially on maintaining momentum in its snacks portfolio, integrating the Snyder’s-Lance and Pacific Foods deals, and working to stabilize its U.S. soup division, which remains a valuable part of the company, despite its recent struggles.
In overseeing these areas that are responsible for the lion's share of Campbell Soup's sales and more than 90% of it product volume, the company may be positioning Mignini to take over for Morrison if she plans to retire soon. This is further underscored by the fact that Campbell Soup did not have anyone previously in the position.
This reorganization "will simplify our operations, improve our execution and enable us to allocate resources with a greater focus on profitable growth," Morrison said in a statement.
She told Food Dive in February that Campbell is on the right track, and recent moves will better position the company to grow over time as it benefits from a shift in food consumption habits. An estimated 44% of the company's annual net sales now come from brands that meet consumer defined health and well-being attributes, placing it in the top third of all food companies.
"I’m looking at this for the long term," Morrison said then. "We have been setting up the company right now while things are changing so that we're poised to navigate that change over the long-term. I believe that's the key to creating shareholder value, if you get the right drivers in place and you are playing the right spaces."
- Campbell Soup CAMPBELL ANNOUNCES STRATEGIC REORGANIZATION
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