Campbell Soup Slips as CEO Unexpectedly Retires
Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison retires.

Campbell Soup Co. (CPB) Chief Executive Officer Denise Morrison retired unexpectedly Friday, May 18.

Morrison, who took the helm at Campbell in August 2011, will step down immediately and will be replaced by board member Keith McLoughlin as interim CEO, Campbell said in an earnings release Friday morning.

Morrison had spent more than eight years at Campbell before she became its CEO, but her tactics have come under fire in recent years as the company has failed to turnaround its cornerstone soup business.

Campbell Soup stock plummeted 12% on Friday.

Also Friday morning, Campbell reported lackluster earnings and slashed forward-looking guidance. The company tallied a fiscal third-quarter loss of $393 million, or $1.31 per share, widening a 58-cent-per-share loss during the same period a year earlier. Adjusted earnings per share for the quarter were 70 cents, which topped FactSet analyst expectations of 60 cents.

Campbell now expects 2018 adjusted earnings to fall between 5% and 6% to between $2.85 and $2.90 for the year. Previous forecasts guided for earnings to fall between 1% and 3% annually.

Campbell Soup shares have fallen 29.7% in the last year.

Another weak quarterly report might further disappoint investors who had been hoping a turnaround at Campbell would attract a buyer. Last year, famed investor and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A) CEO Warren Buffett said his Kraft Heinz Co. (KHC) would not be interested in purchasing a consumer-packaged goods company like Mondelez International Inc. (MDLZ) .

Buffett's rebuke of a CPG deal was taken by many on Wall Street as a bearish sign for industry consolidation, suggesting Campbell, too, might be hard-pressed to shop buyers willing to serve up a payday deal.

Here's what Kraft Heinz CEO Bernardo Hees just told TheStreet about his M&A plans. 

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