By Richa Naidu
CHICAGO, Dec 21 () - Campbell Soup Co said on Friday that incoming Chief Executive Mark Clouse, a food industry veteran, could be paid as much as $7.4 million in compensation for fiscal 2019.
Clouse, the former chief of frozen food maker Pinnacle Foods, was named Campbell's new CEO on Thursday after a seven-month search to replace former CEO Denise Morrison, who left abruptly in May.
At Pinnacle Foods - where Clouse's tenure was marked by a 54 percent rise in stock value - he earned $5.22 million in 2017 and $14.1 million in 2016.
Clouse, 50, began working in the food industry over two decades ago.
His appointment comes just weeks after Campbell and activist hedge fund Third Point LLC settled a bitter proxy contest. Campbell has reported years of weak earnings, trailing the rest of the food industry.
"Campbell needs someone who can shake up the way the company is run, clean house and reinvigorate the brands," Edward Jones analyst Brittany Weissman said on Thursday.
Under Clouse's watch earlier this year, Pinnacle was sold to ConAgra Brands Inc for $8.1 billion.
On Thursday, Conagra CEO Sean Connolly said since buying Pinnacle, he realized the business would be "significantly" less profitable than initially expected. Connolly said Pinnacle's problems were to do with innovation at its top brands, including Birds Eye and Duncan Hines.
That "muddies Clouse's track record a little, but he's had a good track record for years and he's still an ideal candidate for Campbell," Weissman said.
Shares in Campbell fell 5.1 percent on Friday and have tumbled about 26 percent this year.
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