J.M. Smucker Improves Diversity and Expertise with Board Changes

BA Research

In May 2020, the J.M. Smucker Company (SJM) -Get Report announced the upcoming election of two new directors to their board, Susan Chapman (C-) and Jodi Taylor (UN).

The subsequent additions do well to strengthen the diversity of Smucker’s board, which is now 42% female, well above their peer average of 30%. In addition Chapman, who is African American, becomes the second African American in addition to Alex Shumate (B-, board member since 2009).

To make way for the new additions, former directors Gary Oatey (D) and Kathryn Dindo (C) retired. Oatey, 71, retired after 17 years and a 7% annualized TSR.While Dindo retired after 24 years and a 10% annualized TSR.

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The food manufacturer has had a successful 2020, as many stuck at home relied on processed staples to get through COVID-induced quarantines.

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Chapman and Taylor

Chapman is currently an Executive Vice President at American Express. In addition to J.M. Smucker, she also served on the board of the Potbelly Corporation, where she had a TSR of -28% over 6 years.

Taylor is CFO for The Container Store Group Inc. (which has lagged recently, -27% over her tenure). She was previously a director and CFO at Baby Superstore Inc., which was acquired by Toys R Us 3 years into her tenure.

Shumate, who is lead director of the board, had this to say about the appointments: “The entire Board feels strongly that both Susan and Jodi offer extensive expertise in critical areas that complement the experience of our current Board members … Susan brings tremendous knowledge of the consumer digital space, a critical growth area for the Company, while Jodi offers exceptional intelligence about consumer and market trends”.

Management and shareholders will be hoping Chapman and Taylor can help Smucker continue its strong 2020 performance.

Note: Letter grades represent proprietary Boardroom Alpha ratings that assess the individual’s track record as a director

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