Campbell Soup CEO suddenly exits

Campbell Soup is replacing its CEO as the company faces declining soup sales and considers sweeping changes for its broad portfolio of products.

The sudden retirement of CEO Denise Morrison also comes amid a period of expansion for Campbell, which recently acquired the Snyder’s-Lance snack company and the Bolthouse Farms juice maker.

But rockymanagement and changing consumer tastes have constrained the company as it seeks a turnaround.

Keith McLoughlin, a Campbell board member and former CEO of appliance maker Electrolux, will become interim CEO.

The company said it would performa “strategic” review of its products, which in the business world often includes potentially putting assets up for sale.

Morrison’s departure was announced concurrently with the company’s quarterly earnings report, which included a net loss of $393 million for the period ended April 29.

“We made some progress in stabilizing sales in U.S. soup,” CFO Anthony DiSilvestro said in a statement. “However, we are not satisfied with our financial results. Our performance has been impacted by both execution-related and external challenges.”

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Sales of “simple meals and beverages,” the division that includes the company’s namesake Campbell Soup products, fell 2% when not including the effect of acquisitions, currency and other one-time items.

For the last nine months, comparable sales of those items were down 4%. Struggling items include V8 beverages and traditional soups.

American consumers have been gravitating toward products perceived as more natural, which has prompted Campbell to expand in that area.

The company is also bolstering its snack offerings. Snyder’s-Lance brings Hanover pretzels, Kettle chips and Pop Secret into Campbell’s lineup.

Campbell also reported positive sales of Goldfish crackers and Pepperidge Farm cookies.

I am proud of Campbells accomplishments and how we have transformed our portfolio amid changing consumer tastes for food and health and well-being,” Morrison said in a statement. “It has been an honor to lead this iconic company and exceptional team, and I am confident that Campbell will enjoy continued success for many years to come.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

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