In a blow to Campbell, investor adviser Institutional Shareholder Services supported efforts by activist Third Point to include five of its nominees on the board of the soup company on Wednesday night.
However, ISS pointed out a number of missteps the company has committed under its current board, which is underlined by its financial performance. The company has achieved a total return on sales of 19 percent over the past two years (19659006), while the S & P 500 has nearly tripled over the same period.
"Given the subordinate oversight of critical issues such as M & A and succession planning, shareholders may wonder if the established board is in a position to get Campbell back on track in time," the verdict said.
Currently, Campbell is breaking off its efforts to diversify into fresh food and selling brands that have spent more than a dollar billions under the leadership of former CEO Denise Morrison. After struggling due to their lack of experience with fresh food and a poor drought, the Department of Fresh Foods had an operating loss of $ 7 million in the last quarter.
Interim Campbell's acquisition of the pretzel and chip company Snyder & # 39; s-Lance increased the company's debt burden more than threefold and created a business that is difficult to integrate.
The Soup Company co The Deal Remains – Interim CEO Keith McLoughlin told analysts in August that the company was "even more confident about growth prospects and synergies."
ISS also voiced questions about Campbell's commitment to its dividend despite its poor financial results
"The maintenance of the dividend can prove to be the right decision, though it raises the question of whether the board, which currently has three members Belonging to the founding family, considering all options ", it says in the judgment.
Third point – which has recently cut its board candidates from twelve to five – has been nominated by Sarah Hofstetter, president of Comscore; Bozoma Saint John, Chief Marketing Officer of entertainment conglomerate Endeavor; Kurt Schmidt, former director and CEO of Blue Buffalo; William Toler, former CEO of Hostess Brand and Third Point Executive Munib Islam.
Campbell spokesman Thomas Hushen said in a statement on Wednesday night that the company disagrees with the ISS conclusion.
"The Campbell board consists of 12 members. They are independent, and four of them have joined since 2016," said Hushen.
The Board combines the required capabilities – including a strong mix of industry experience, operational expertise, long-term shareholder perspectives, financial acumen, and global public business experience – required oversight and strategic guidance for a variety of consumer and business needs amidst rapid changes in the business food industry.
Interim chief executive McLoughlin said the company had proposed to include two of Third Point's nominees in its board last week, Kurt Schmidt and Sarah Hofstetter. McLoughlin said the third point rejected this option.