CAMDEN, N.J. — The board of directors of Campbell Soup Co. has elected Denise Morrison as president and chief executive officer. The appointment is will take effect Aug. 1, the first day of the company’s fiscal year.
Ms. Morrison most recently has been executive vice-president and chief operating officer as a part of a succession plan. Douglas R. Conant is stepping down as president and c.e.o. after more than 10 years and also will step down from the board of directors.

“Denise is a superb leader with strong operational skills, comprehensive knowledge of the business and the food industry, and powerful insights into the opportunities for driving profitable growth across Campbell’s portfolio,” said Paul R. Charron, chairman of the board of directors. “The board is confident the company will flourish under her direction. We are very pleased by the success of this leadership transition and look forward to the next exciting chapter in the evolving story of an organization with a rich history and a vibrant future.”

Ms. Morrison has more than 35 years of experience in consumer packaged goods and has been with Campbell since April 2003.

She received a bachelor’s degree in economics and psychology from Boston College.

“I’m honored and inspired by the appointment to lead this great company,” Ms. Morrison said. “At a time of rapid change and significant challenge in the food industry, we have the people, the brands and the opportunities to unlock the potential of our business and build shareholder value. In the past nine months, I have had the privilege of working closely with our board and our leadership team to examine our business with fresh eyes and design a new strategic direction for the company. We are immensely energized by our plan and by the skill, commitment and values of the Campbell organization. Building on the strong business foundation and exceptional culture that are Doug Conant’s distinguished legacies, we will drive a new era of growth at Campbell.”

Separately, Campbell’s board of directors said it has authorized a new share repurchase program. Under the new program, Campbell is authorized to purchase up to $1 billion of its outstanding shares in open market and privately negotiated transactions. The program has no expiration date.

The new share repurchase program replaces the June 2008 authorization of $1.2 billion, which has been completed. The new program is in addition to Campbell’s practice of buying back shares sufficient to offset those issued under incentive compensation plans.