Chasing Agility and Collaboration, Morrison Shakes Up Bolthouse Farms

denise_morrison_cambell_soupAfter a rough quarter, Campbell Soup Company CEO Denise Morrison announced she was making changes at the company’s C-Fresh Division.

Included in those changes is a shakeup near the top of the division, including the removal of Scott LaPorta, the president and GM of Bolthouse Farms, the largest brand in the division.

Morrison disclosed the removal of LaPorta and others during Campbell Soup’s fourth quarter 2016 earnings conference call, held Thursday.

“Over the last several weeks we’ve made major organizational changes under Jeff Dunn, the President of Campbell Fresh. Several senior managers are no longer with the company, including the President of Bolthouse Farms. Additionally, we’ve created a new structure to foster more agility and collaboration across the division,” Morrison said.

LaPorta’s departure from Bolthouse, one year after his hire, comes after a disappointing fourth quarter for the the company’s Campbell Fresh division that saw sales decline 5 percent to $223 million.

“I am particularly unhappy with the short term executional issues that led to the poor performance in Campbell Fresh, both for the quarter and for the year,” said Morrison. “This performance is unacceptable. I expect far more from the Campbell Fresh business.”

Morrison attributed much of that poor performance to the June 22 voluntary recall of 3.8 million bottles of Bolthouse Farms’ “Protein PLUS” and “Mocha Cappuccino” lines over issues regarding product spoilage. The alert indicated the company was made aware of the spoilage after receiving consumer complaints of illness.

Morrison said the company has since implemented changes to its facilities to ensure safety of the product but that production has not yet returned to the pre-recall levels due to new operating procedures that have been put in place. As such, Morrison said, sales will likely continue to be lower throughout the remainder of the year.

Morrison also attributed the poor performance by C-Fresh to issues in the company’s carrot business which stemmed from weather, among other factors.

“While disappointed in our execution I remain confident in our C-Fresh strategy. We have strong popular brands that are on trend with the changing nature of consumers’ eating habits,” said Morrison. “Strategy was not the issue. Our problem was execution.”

The company also announced new additions to the C Fresh leadership team, including Ken Messick (Chief Customer Officer), Jim Caltabiano (Chief Financial Officer) and Tim Gates (Vice President, Human Resources).

Campbell’s acquired Bolthouse Farms in 2012 for $1.55 billion.