ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG), one of the nation’s largest branded food companies, announced today that it is organizing its retail food operations under one umbrella, and is naming an experienced food industry executive, F. Martin Thrasher, to lead these operations.
Thrasher was named President, ConAgra Retail Food Products Company, a newly created position that will have responsibility for the company’s consumer, shelf-stable grocery products, refrigerated prepared foods, dairy products and frozen prepared foods. Thrasher will report to Bruce Rohde, chairman and chief executive officer.
Rohde said, “Today’s announcement is aimed at aligning our resources to serve retail customers and consumers with the objective of improving service and reducing both complexity and cost of operation. It is another solid step in our plan to grow our retail food business, enhance our customer relationships and improve our competitive advantage in the retail food channel. Connecting our retail business units strengthens our operations and utilizes our scale to get the right products to the market faster and more efficiently.”
Rohde noted that Thrasher is a seasoned food veteran with a demonstrated track record of success. “Marty is an accomplished general manager with the right combination of experience, expertise and proven leadership ability to guide our retail food operations to superior performance. He has held top general manager positions within leading food products organizations on three continents and comes to ConAgra Foods with a reputation for getting results. We are pleased to have Marty join us and are confident that he will be a strong leader in our journey to be the best, value-generating food company in the industry.”
Before joining ConAgra Foods, Thrasher, 50, held a series of leadership positions with increasing responsibilities over the past 25 years including the Campbell Soup Company’s grocery and beverage businesses in Australia; frozen foods, soup, sauce and beverage business in North America; and grocery businesses in Europe. In each position he has a demonstrated record of successful management. Thrasher began his career in 1973 in brand management positions with General Foods, Canada, and then moved to McCormick, Canada, where he served as Vice President, Sales and Marketing. Thrasher joined Campbell in 1988. He is a native of London, Ontario, Canada.
To alleviate any near-term competitive issues by Thrasher joining ConAgra Foods, Campbell and ConAgra Foods have reached an amiable agreement governing certain product lines. ConAgra Foods will maintain a stand-alone business unit for one year to manage products that could be considered competitive with Campbell, such as Chef Boyardee and Homestyle Bakes. The affected product lines represent approximately 5 percent of ConAgra Foods’ retail sales.
ConAgra Foods, Inc. is North America’s largest foodservice manufacturer and second largest retail food supplier, with annual sales in excess of $27 billion. ConAgra Foods’ consumer brands include: Hunt’s tomato products, Healthy Choice, Banquet meals, Armour meats, Bumble Bee tuna, Fleischmann’s, Eckrich, Eggbeaters, Louis Kemp seafood, La Choy, Chun King, Lunch Makers, Wesson, Country Pride, Blue Bonnet, Kid Cuisine, Parkay, Reddi-wip, Marie Callender’s, Cook’s ham, Butterball, Act II, Slim Jim, Decker, Chef Boyardee, Orville Redenbacher’s, PAM Cooking Spray, Snack Pack puddings, Van Camp’s, Peter Pan, Hebrew National, Gulden’s mustard, Pemmican Jerky, Swift Brown ‘n Serve Sausages, Swiss Miss, and many others. For more information, please visit us at www.conagrafoods.com.
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