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Third Point shortens slate to replace Campbell's board

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Over a month after introducing a 12-person slate of ‘Independents’ with which it wanted to replace Campbell Soup Co.’s entire board of directors, New York-based hedge fund Third Point LLC has released a video introducing a slate of just five replacements.

They include Bill Toler, former Hostess Brands CEO; Bozoma St. John, chief marketing officer at New York-based media holding company Endeavor; Third Point partner Munib Islam; Sarah Hofstetter, president of Virginia-based media analytics company Comscore; and Kurt Schmidt, retired CEO of Wilton, Conn.-based pet food company Blue Buffalo.

“We need to revolutionize the brand, contemporize the brand,” Toler said in the video. “The brand has incredible equity over hundreds of years, with consumers [and] people all over around world, and to be able to contemporize this business and get it back to the great success it deserves is something that’s very exciting to me.”

St. John said the reason brands falter is that they rely on the old without trying to innovate the storytelling around it.

“Culture moves, it is a living, breathing thing. You have to connect with whatever is happening today,” she said.

In a letter dated Friday, Third Point said it had received three points from Campbell shareholders.

“They are certain change is necessary to reverse decades of underperformance and get Campbell back on track; they are convinced that Third Point and its nominees are highly qualified to serve on this Board and compare favorably to the existing Board members; and they would like to see a settlement of this proxy contest with meaningful representation on the Board from the Independent Slate, but also believe that some continuity is a good thing,” Third Point wrote.

For that reason, Third Point filed the new shorter slate of independents with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it said in a statement.

In a letter dated Friday, Campbell’s interim CEO Keith McLoughlin said the company has had “proactive” conversations with Third Point in recent weeks.

McLoughlin said the company proposed adding two of Third Point’s independent slate, Schmidt and Hofstetter, to its board of directors, and delineated what it felt were appropriate parameters for board members: “Individuals who are truly open to all strategic alternatives and who are free from employment conflicts that would impair that openness or limit the ability to maintain Board confidentiality, which would exclude Third Point employees.”

 Third Point rejected the proposal, according to McLoughlin.

Third Point responded to McLoughlin on Monday, saying Campbell has not pursued meetings with independent-slate nominees to date, and that it “would be interested to learn how you are making decisions about which members of the independent short slate would best serve shareholders.”

Third Point and Campbell did not return requests for comment by press time.

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Gabrielle Saulsbery

Gabrielle Saulsbery

Albany, N.Y. native Gabrielle Saulsbery is a staff writer for NJBIZ and the newest thing in New Jersey. You can contact her at gsaulsbery@njbiz.com.

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