Campbell Soup Reorganizes

CAMDEN, N.J. — In an effort to bolster its soup business, Campbell Soup Co. reorganized its North American operations into two business units — one focusing on soups and the other focusing on beverages and sauces.

“Our No. 1 priority is to revitalize our North American soup business,” Campbell President and Chief Executive Officer Douglas R. Conant said in a prepared statement. “This new organizational alignment is designed to sharpen our focus on consumer marketing and competitive strategies for soup. In addition, the balance of our North American businesses, including such outstanding brands as V8 and V8 Splash, Prego, Pace and Franco-American are vital to our overall success and require a heightened level of executive attention.”

Campbell (CPB), which derives more than two-thirds of its sales and earnings from its soup line, named Andrew Hughson president of the soup unit. Mr. Hughson, 46 years old, will report directly to Mr. Conant. Mr. Hughson previously was president of Campell’s U.S. soup and sauce unit.

F. Martin Thrasher, named president of Campbell North America only 10 months ago, is leaving the company to pursue other career opportunities.

The company hasn’t named a president for the drinks and sauces unit.

Mr. Conant, 49 years old, is the former president of Nabisco Foods Co. and was named Campbell CEO in January. He replaced David W. Johnson, who returned to the CEO’s post in March 2000 after the resignation of Dale F. Morrison.

Since his appointment, Mr. Conant has revamped Campbell’s corporate structure in a bid to improve the company’s position in the highly competitive food business. In February, he tapped Larry S. McWilliams, a former executive at Coca-Cola Co., to fill the newly created position of senior vice president for sales and chief customer officer. Patrick O’Malley, formerly senior vice president of operations for Nabisco Foods, was named vice president-global supply chain, also a new position. Another Nabisco veteran, Robert A. Schiffner, was appointed chief financial officer.

The company said in February that it expects to earn 28 cents to 30 cents a share in the third quarter and said its goal remains to restore “vitality” to its U.S. soup business. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call have a mean estimate for third-quarter earnings of 30 cents a share.

Campbell earned $271 million, or 65 cents a share, on sales of $1.96 billion in the second quarter ended Jan. 28.

Campbell has more than 20 brand names of soups, sauces, beverages, biscuits and other prepared foods, each with more than $100 million in sales. In addition to the Campbell’s brand, it makes Swanson broths, Erasco soups in Germany and Liebig soups in France, Homepride sauces in the United Kingdom, Pepperidge Farm cookies and crackers and Godiva chocolates.

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