Campbell Soup Stock Slumps Following Sudden Exit of CEO

Campbell Soup Co. shares fell sharply at the end of last week after the CEO made an unexpected announcement that she was departing.

Shares of Campbell dropped over 12.4% in Friday trading after it announced a change in strategy and that CEO Denise Morrison was retiring effective immediately amidst a sales slump of three years.

The share price of Campbell’s has dropped by almost half since its mid-2016 peak. The exit of Morrison after a seven-year run with the reins of the troubled company makes the ranks of female leaders at companies even thinner in the S&P 500.

An advocate for gender equality has said that only 23 females remain at the top of companies in the S&P 500, which represents just 4.6% of the total CEO’s in the index.

Anthony DiSilvestro the CFO at Campbell said that the company had made significant progress in stabilizing its sales and growing its snacks portfolio.

However, the financial results did not satisfy the company and external challenges and other important factors affected the company, said the CFO when presenting the latest results for its just ended quarter.

DiSilvestro added that the company is planning to make a review of all aspects of its portfolio and strategy. Board member Keith McLoughlin will be Morrison’s temporary replacement until the board can find another permanent CEO.

During a call with investors, McLoughlin said that everything is out on the table and no sacred cow is being protected. The company pointed to new tariffs that President Donald Trump has put on aluminum and steel as part of its difficulties, driving up the cost to produce its soup cans.

Over the last few years, the company has made a great attempt at diversifying, in particular through its acquisition of Snyder’s-Lance the snacks maker and through the development of product lines that are deemed healthier for consumers.

However, it still posted a loss of $393 million for the just ending quarter while revenues reach just over $2.13 billion.

Snacks companies have come under pressure the last few years as consumers shift to what they consider healthier food.