Campbell Soup is intensifying its efforts to recruit a new CEO and could be one step closer to promoting chief operating officer Luca Mignini, sources close to the matter have told Reuters.
Campbell’s appointed board member Keith McLoughlin as its interim CEO in May, following the retirement of Denise Morrison. Sources tell Reuters that McLoughlin – described by the company as “a talented and experienced business leader” when he was placed in temporary charge – is not in the running to take over permanently.
FoodBev had reported that chief operating officer Luca Mignini was in line to succeed Morrison, having initially been brought into the Campbell’s fold to lead its global biscuits and snacks portfolio. Mignini, an Italian, had previously been the CEO of Igloo Group’s Findus business in Italy.
Since Morrison’s departure, Mignini has been focusing on the integration of both Snyder’s-Lance and Pacific Foods – the two recent acquisitions undertaken by Campbell’s – along with stabilising performance in its US soup portfolio.
Campbell’s COO Luca Mignini
One option is Mark Clouse, the CEO of Pinnacle Foods who has led the business into a $10.9 billion takeover at the hands of Conagra Brands. That deal is yet to be completed, but Clouse – a former US Army captain with industry experience at Kraft Heinz and Mondelēz – is seen as an experienced outside choice who is soon to become available.
The Reuters source, who asked to remain anonymous, has said that Campbell’s will approach candidates from outside the business but has not begun the process yet.
It is believed that Campbell’s did not initiate a search for a permanent CEO immediately after Morrison’s retirement. Third Point revealed it had increased stake in the business, which it accused of “years of abysmal oversight”, in early-August.
Reuters reported that Mignini had begun to attend investor briefings alongside McLoughlin and chief financial officer Anthony DiSilvestro, raising speculation that the company was trying to raise his profile in preparation of an announcement later that he would succeed Morrison as CEO.
When Mignini was appointed COO, Morrison said: “Since joining Campbell, Luca has proven himself a superb strategist and strong executor with a keen understanding of the critical details of all our businesses. He has led our best-performing division, global biscuits and snacks, and helped engineer the acquisition of The Kelsen Group and more recently Snyder’s-Lance.
“I am confident in Luca’s ability to lead our core businesses, oversee the integration of Pacific Foods and Snyder’s-Lance, and deliver improved execution and performance.”
The sources quoted by Reuters claimed that he had become the leading internal candidate in Campbell’s search for a long-term CEO.
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