Veteran CEOs Talk About How They Would Fix Troubled Companies


Campbell Is in the Soup

The Situation
The $8.1-billion consumer-packaged-goods giant headquartered in Camden, N.J., remains weighed down by the continued sluggishness of U.S. consumers and by its historic association with prepared foods that are falling out of favor. CEO Denise Morrison has made some major strategic moves during her three-year tenure, such as acquiring fast-growing healthy-food superstars Bolthouse Farms and Plum Organics. She’s also tried to appeal to a Millennial generation oriented toward fresh foods with gambits, such as Go! Soup in aseptic pouches and catchy flavors. Still, Campbell’s performance has been erratic even at best.

The Solutions
Adnan Durrani: Campbell should restructure its beverage division, get rid of their energy drinks—because they can’t compete in distribution with theirs—and focus on re-launching the V8 brand with a lot of discipline and push natural and organic versions.

Jay Gould: They’ve historically not leveraged their balance sheet for growth, so it took Morrison a lot of courage to spend $1 billion on Bolthouse Farms and Plum Organics, two moves for non-organic growth that hopefully will stimulate the company.

David Leider: I worked on Campbell Soup advertising 20-plus years ago, and they have the same mentality today: Advertising and marketing is a cost, not a driver of business. They need to change that mentality. Rather than put money into shopper-marketing programs, they need to get people to understand their brands better.