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Third Point nominates 12 for Campbell Soup board, seeking full overhaul


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Third Point nominates 12 for Campbell Soup board, seeking full overhaul

Third Point LLC put forth 12 nominees for Campbell Soup Co.'s board of directors Sept. 7, indicating that the activist hedge fund wants to replace the soup-maker's entire board.

The fund published a list of its nominees on a new website that Third Point is using to promote its campaign. Fund CEO and Portfolio Manager Daniel Loeb also sent the list to Les Vinney, Campbell's current board chair, according to a letter published on the website.

In the letter, Loeb indicated that Third Point was unhappy with Campbell's recent review of its portfolio and operations. Although Third Point had been lobbying the company to sell itself, Campbell interim President and CEO Keith McLoughlin said in August that the review ended in the company's decision to seek offers for a number of international and fresh food brands.

"The disappointing outcome of Campbell's recent 'strategic review' process provides further evidence that this board is unable or unwilling to take the bold action needed to address the current crisis and does not understand the depth of the company's problems," Loeb wrote.

Campbell's decision to reduce its portfolio without also making changes to its board or leadership made McLoughlin's statements about the divestments "ring hollow," Loeb added.

In a statement, Campbell said its board would review Third Point's nominees before putting forward its own slate ahead of the company's annual meeting.

Some of Third Point's nominees have worked as executives at food companies. They include William Toler, a former president and CEO at Hostess Brands Inc.; Raymond Silcock, CFO of International Nutrition and Wellness Holdings; and Kurt Schmidt, former director and CEO of Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc.

George Strawbridge, who served on Campbell's board from 1988 until 2009, is also among the nominees with experience in the food industry. Strawbridge is the grandson of John Dorrance, a former chairman of the Campbell board.

But a majority of the fund's nominees come from other industries, including Franci Blassberg, counsel at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP; Sarah Hofstetter, chairwoman of marketing company 360i LLC; Larry Karlson, former chairman and CEO of private equity firm Berwind Financial Corp.; Bozoma Saint John, chief marketing officer at Endeavor Co., which manages Hollywood talent agency WME; David Silverman, founder and CEO of software maker CrossLead Inc.; and Michael Silverstein, an operating executive at investment firm Carlyle Group LP.

Also on the list are two of Third Point's own employees: Managing Director Matthew Cohen and partner Munib Islam.

Campbell's profit fell during its fourth quarter as sales within its flagship soup segment sank.