Campbell Soup's board is drawing up a list of CEO candidates, with Chief Operating Officer Luca Mignini emerging as the top internal contender, as the company seeks to fend off a proxy challenge from Daniel Loeb's hedge fund, Third Point, people familiar with the matter said.
Third Point unveiled a slate of nominees on Friday to replace Campbell's 12-member board, pushing it to more actively explore a sale and criticizing its lack of a succession plan after Chief Executive Denise Morrison left in May. Morrison's departure came after several years of weak corporate earnings.
Campbell board member Keith McLoughlin, who has served as interim CEO following Morrison's departure, has said he is not interested in having the job on a permanent basis.
That has added to pressure on Campbell to find a leader who will help it execute its ambitious turnaround plan, which it unveiled last month. Despite Morrison's exit almost four months ago, the board has only recently taken formal steps to look externally for a new CEO, according to the sources.