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Poultry giant names new CEO, cuts forecasts; stock drops 3%

Cans of Chef Boyardee
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Shares of ConAgra Foods, one of the nation's largest packaged good producers, fell on Thursday after it announced changes in management and cut its full year 2015 earnings forecasts.

The company, well known for its Slim Jim and Chef Boyardee brands, said Sean Connolly would replace current CEO Gary Rodkin effective April 6. Rodkin had announced his impending retirement in August.

Connolly, 49, was CEO of Hillshire Brands from 2012 until its sale to Tyson Foods in August.

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"[Connolly's] track record of building brands, energizing teams, and creating value makes him an ideal fit. We are confident he will infuse focus and enthusiasm at ConAgra Foods," the company's chair said in a statement.

It also expects to earn between $2.13 and $2.18 for the 2015 fiscal year, which was lower than it previously projected. ConAgra cited the dollar's recent strength as well as unexpected changes in commodities prices for the weaker outlook. Fiscal third-quarter earnings per share are expected to fall about 10 cents from a year ago.

The company also said the ongoing longshoremen labor dispute on the U.S. West Coast had negatively impacted the company's international exports, specifically in its Lamb Weston potato unit. The company said it originally expected for the labor dispute, which has carried on since May, to be resolved in the winter, but it now sees it going on well in into the spring.

The packaged goods producer also said its private brands segment had suffered "due to a highly competitive bidding environment, as well as execution shortfalls, which together have negatively impacted recent results and near-term expectations for volumes, pricing, and margins."

Shares fell about 3 percent in after-hours trading.