CAMDEN, N.J. — The Campbell Soup Co., which has been on the hunt for a new chief executive officer since Denise M. Morrison stepped down earlier this year, may be leaning toward Mark A. Clouse as its top choice, according to a Nov. 27 article in The Wall Street Journal.
Citing people familiar with the c.e.o. search, the WSJ said Campbell Soup could reach an agreement with Mr. Clouse in the next few weeks if he is receptive to taking the job. Campbell Soup previously has said it plans to name a c.e.o. by the end of this year.
“The board’s selection process is ongoing and includes a number of highly qualified internal and external candidates,” a Campbell spokesman said.
Mr. Clouse most recently was c.e.o. of Pinnacle Foods until the company was acquired by Conagra Brands earlier this year. Prior to Pinnacle, he was chief commercial officer at Mondelez International, Inc., where he spent 20 years in leadership positions involving brands such as Oreo, Nabisco, Cadbury and Trident. He was also the chief growth officer for Mondelez, led businesses in emerging markets such as China and Brazil and held leadership roles related to integration of acquisitions.
Before Mondelez, Mr. Clouse served in the United States Army as a pilot and completed his service as a captain.
News of the c.e.o. search came a day after Campbell Soup and shareholder Third Point reached an agreement in which Campbell Soup will increase the size of its board of directors to 14 from 12 by adding two independent directors from Third Point’s proposed slate of directors.
Third Point, which owns about 6% of Campbell Soup’s stock on the New York Stock Exchange, had proposed to replace all 12 of the current directors with a new slate at the Nov. 29 annual meeting. Because of the agreement reached three days before the meeting, Sarah Hofstetter, president of global information and analytics company Comscore, and Kurt Schmidt, former director and chief executive officer of pet food company Blue Buffalo Co. Ltd., are set to join Campbell Soup’s board.
New York-based Third Point under the agreement also will provide input into Campbell Soup’s c.e.o. search. Third Point will be allowed to present its views at two meetings of the board and two meetings with Campbell Soup’s c.e.o. within the next 12 months.