Food Business News - August 26, 2014 - (Page 13)

Gary Rodkin to retire from ConAgra Foods OMAHA - Gary Rodkin, chief executive officer of ConAgra Foods, will retire at the end of the company's fiscal year in May 2015. ConAgra's board has created a search committee to find his replacement. "The board is extremely appreciative of Gary's leadership, vision and accomplishments over his almost nine years as c.e.o. of ConAgra Foods," said Steven Goldstone, chairman of ConAgra Foods. "Under his stewardship, ConAgra Foods has transformed from a holding company into one unified company, with a well-balanced portfolio of consumer, commercial and private brand businesses, and strong operating capabilities. To achieve this transformation, Gary made necessary and bold moves with the company's portfolio and drove significant cultural change throughout the business." Mr. Rodkin, 62, joined ConAgra Foods in October 2005. Prior to joining ConAgra, he was chairman and chief executive officer of PepsiCo Beverages and Foods North America, where he led a $10 billion organization that included such brands as Pepsi, Gatorade, Quaker Foods and Tropicana. He joined PepsiCo in 1998 after it acquired Tropicana, where he had served as president since 1995. "It is a great privilege to lead ConAgra Foods, and while I look forward to retirement, I will miss working alongside so many smart and talented people who I've watched grow tremendously in my nine years here," Mr. Rodkin said. "I'm pleased we are beginning my last fiscal year at ConAgra Foods by making good progress, and I have deep conviction that we are on the right path to deliver sustainable, profitable growth due to our signifi- Rodkin cantly improved operational capabilities and our differentiated portfolio that is right for today's valueoriented consumers." FBN Pinnacle Foods moving past Hillshire 'distraction' PARSIPPANY N J PARSIPPANY, N.J. - PinnaPinna cle Foods, Inc. is rebounding from the six-week "distraction" of the proposed merger agreement with Hillshire Brands Co. that was terminated when Tyson Foods, Inc. agreed to acquire Hillshire at the end of June. Although the failed acquisition led to a loss in productivity for Pinnacle in customer planning and acquisitions, the company ended its second quarter with higher earnings and sales, even against the added challenges of a tough retail environment. "After the interesting events of the past quarter it is a pleasure to be fully focused on realizing the opportunities we have in front of us at Pinnacle," said Bob Gamgort, chief executive officer, during an Aug. 13 conference call with financial analysts to August 26, 2014 discuss second quarter per second-quarter performance. "Our business model has proven to be quite resilient in the face of increasingly difficult industry dynamics. While we are not immune to the challenges, we continue to execute well, driving volume and market share growth as well as improved product mix and strong productivity." A bright spot in the Hillshire saga was its brevity. The unsolicited offer came and went within six weeks, too short a time span for the company to lose any key executives, Mr. Gamgort said. "So, while it's great that it only lasted six weeks, in this environment I don't want six hours of distraction, let alone six weeks of distraction," he said. "So I think it's a really good indication of how solid our team is that we have been able to rally and deliver strong performance." Pinnacle also benefited from a $163 million termination fee from Tyson Foods that was used toward a $200 million reduction in debt as well as retention and performance incentives for all of its employees. How the Hillshire deal unfolded underscores the state of the food and beverage industry and how companies may retain growth in the face of ongoing challenges, Mr. Gamgort said. "The lessons learned on this - the environment is ripe for consolidation in the food industry," he said. "A combination of lack of growth, relatively low-cost financing, no easy answer to where you go next, emerging markets aren't delivering the performance they once did. Even some of the specialty retailers are soft on their performance, so it's not such an easy answer. Then when you get right down to it and you see pressure from activists on some other companies, consolidation makes a ton of sense." The terminated agreement also strengthened Pinnacle's confidence in its business model and plans going forward. "I think what surprised us is that we felt we were going to be the consolidators, and that's why it was unexpected," Mr. Gamgort said. "We will go back on that front and continue to be consolidators. I think the lesson learned internally, and we've had a lot of discussion here, we like the business model that we have created. We like the culture and the environment of this company. We've just got to keep dialing up the speed and continue the aggressive posture that we take on costs, on innovation, as well as M.&A. And I think that was the takeaway from all of us." For the second quarter ended June 29, Pinnacle earned $35,584,000, equal to 31c per share on the common stock, which compared with a loss of $31,839,000 in the prioryear period. Excluding items affecting comparability, net earnings increased approximately 23%. Net sales totaled $617,800,000, up 8.6% from $569,044,000 in the comparable quarter, reflecting the benefit from the company's acquisition of Wish-Bone dressings. FBN FOODBUSINESS NEWS ® 13

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Business News - August 26, 2014

Food Business News - August 26, 2014
Wal-Mart in effort to be even more price competitive
Coca-Cola Co., Monster Beverage enter energy drink deal
Beverage Business News - Blending innovation in the juice segment
Table of Contents
Web Contents
Editorial - Social progress tied to diet
Wal-Mart in effort to be even more price competitive
Nestle to implement animal welfare standards
TreeHouse ahead on Keurig 2.0 product
Kraft, McDonald’s going forward with McCafé partnership
Gary Rodkin to retire from ConAgra Foods
Pinnacle Foods moving past Hillshire ‘distraction’
Displays, distribution propel Hostess cakes, rival says
Popcorn has global possibilities
TreeHouse Foods eyeing private label organic, natural category
Big Lots ramps up food offerings
Market Insight - Beef's simmering troubles
Washington - Transportation proposal under scrutiny
Ingredient Innovations - Rallying around omega-3
Oil blend with omega-3s offers stability
Health and Wellness - Better living through nutrition
New Food Products
Ingredient Market Trends - Canadian crop forecasts at ‘more normal levels’
Ingredient Markets
Supplier Innovations and News
Ad Index
Food Business in the News

Food Business News - August 26, 2014