Campbell Soup Company begins 2014 with two new executives in key roles as it looks to drive sales in Asia and increase marketing effectiveness in the United States following a difficult first quarter.
The company named James Wong to the role of president of greater China and Far East. Wong will be based in Shanghai and report to Luca Migini, president of Campbell International. Campbell also recently named Yin Woon Rani to the newly created role of vp of integrated marketing with responsibility for establishing the strategic direction for the company advertising, media, global design, digital marketing and social media.
Wong has more than two decades of global experience in the consumer goods industry and joins Campbells from SC Johnson where he served as executive director and general manager of greater China. Wong also spent time with the Asian operations of Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Duracell and Nestlé.
Woon Rani joins Campbell from Universal McCann where she served as president of North America for the global media company. She also held positions with Grey Worldwide where she worked on accounts such as GlaxoSmithKline, Proctor & Gamble, Hasbro, J.M. Smucker’s Co. and Mars, Incorporated during a 15 year career.
The appointment of both executives follow what proved to be an even more challenging sales environment than Campbell envisioned during its first quarter ended October 27. The company reported uneven sales results due in part to inventory cutbacks at retailers which caused a profit decline and prompted the company to revise its full fiscal year outlook. Campbell’s first quarter earnings declined to $181 million, or 57 cents a share, compared with earnings of $232 million, or 73 cents a share the prior year.
“While we anticipated a challenging first quarter, the impact from retailer inventory movements was greater than anticipated and accounted for more than half of the decline in organic sales,” Campbell’s president and CEO Denise Morrison said at the time. “This was most acute in U.S. Soup, where retailer inventory movements lowered sales by approximately 4%, or two-thirds of the decline versus prior year. Significant shifts in our program timing and execution also pressured results, especially in U.S. Soup.”