Campbell names Clouse, former head of Pinnacle, as its new CEO

Former Pinnacle Foods CEO Mark Clouse was named CEO and president of Campbell Soup Co. on Thursday.

He will take over Jan. 22.

Camden-based Campbell’s, one of the state’s most iconic brands, has struggled in recent years. Some wondered if the company would be better off split apart.

Clouse, 50, brings more than 20 years of industry experience, serving in top roles at Mondelez International and Kraft Foods.

At Pinnacle, shares increased 54 percent during his tenure as CEO, which ended earlier this year, when the company was sold to Conagra Brands for $10.9 billion.

In the release announcing his hiring, Campbell said Clouse has consistently demonstrated an ability to enhance growth and create shareholder value through investments in a company’s existing brands and through acquisitions.

Chairman Les Vinney praised the selection.

“Mark Clouse is an outstanding leader with a proven track record of operational excellence, and we are excited to name him as Campbell’s next president and CEO,” Vinney said in a statement. “Mark’s leadership as CEO of Pinnacle Foods shows a clear track record of delivering solid revenue and earnings growth and generating significant value for shareholders.

“Over the last several months, the Campbell board conducted a thorough search process, and we are confident that Mark is the right person to continue our turnaround plan and lead Campbell to future growth. He brings a wealth of experience in the food industry, as well as a fresh perspective on the opportunities and challenges before us.

“Mark was the Board’s top choice due to his success leading organizations through significant transformations and his history of delivering strong results. We are eager to begin working with him as we continue to build a stronger and more focused Campbell.”

Clouse will succeed Campbell’s interim CEO and president, Keith McLoughlin, who will remain a director of the company and will work closely with Clouse to ensure a seamless transition, the company said. Clouse also has been elected a director.

Consistent with the terms of a recent settlement agreement between investor Third Point and Campbell, Third Point provided constructive input into the CEO search process and fully supports the Campbell board’s decision to name Clouse to the post.

Clouse, in a statement, said he looks forward to the job.

“I am honored to lead Campbell and its portfolio of iconic brands into the next chapter of the company’s storied history,” he said. “I am committed to delivering Campbell’s strategic objectives and look forward to partnering with the board and working alongside the company’s many talented employees to deliver sustainable, long-term growth. I am confident that together we can build a prosperous future for Campbell and all of its stakeholders.”

During Clouse’s two-and-a-half-year tenure as CEO of Pinnacle Foods, Pinnacle consistently grew or maintained market share in each of its top categories, delivered double-digit adjusted EPS growth and successfully integrated the Boulder Brands acquisition creating significant shareholder value.

Clouse joined Pinnacle Foods from Mondelez International, where he served as chief commercial officer and chief growth officer, with responsibility for the company’s growth strategy and key functions, including corporate strategy, global marketing, global sales and research, development and quality. Throughout his 20-year tenure at Kraft, Clouse served in a range of leadership positions managing food brands in developed markets and entrepreneurial global businesses in emerging markets such as Brazil and China.

Prior to joining Kraft, Clouse served in the Army as a pilot and completed his service as a Captain. Clouse is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and holds a Bachelor of Science in economics.