We begin our gallery with changes at the top of ConAgra Foods, which has hired former Hillshire Brands boss Sean Connolly as its new president and CEO, commencing April 6, replacing Gary Rodkin, who announced plans to retire last August.
Connolly started his career in CPG at Procter & Gamble, occupying a series of brand management roles before heading to Campbell Soup in 2002 as vice president, Food Brands. He moved up the ladder at Campbell Soup into a series of executive leadership roles before joining Sara Lee in 2012 as CEO of its North American Retail and Foodservice business. When Hillshire Brands was spun off in June 2012, he took the helm.
He left in late August 2014 after Hillshire (which had been in the process of a deal to buy Pinnacle Foods) was itself acquired by Tyson Foods.
Connolly, who will join ConAgra on March 3 as CEO-elect, has a big mountain to climb when he joins the Nebraska-based company, which has just lowered its earnings guidance for the year ending in May blaming a highly competitive bidding environment, “execution shortfalls” at its private-label division, labor issues at West Coast ports and the strong dollar.