ConAgra Names New CEO, Lowers Earnings Guidance

ConAgra Foods has named a new CEO: Sean M. Connolly, who was CEO of Hillshire Brands for two years prior to its sale to Tyson Foods in August 2014.

Connolly, 49, will succeed Gary M. Rodkin as of April 6. Rodkin announced his intention to retire last August. 

Prior to Hillshire Brands, Connolly served as CEO for Sara Lee North American Retail and Foodservice; president of Campbell Soup North America; and managed a variety of food and beverage brands at Procter & Gamble.

ConAgra also lowered its earnings outlook for the year ending in May, to between $2.13 and $2.18 per share. It had previously expected a mid-single-digit percentage increase on last year's $2.17 EPS.

The company cited the unfavorable effects of a stronger dollar and higher-than-expected losses on commodity index hedges, but said the biggest contributing factors are the effects of the ongoing labor dispute tying up West Coast ports, and problems at Ralcorp Holdings, the private-label business that it acquired for $4.95 billion in 2013.



ConAgra said that Ralcorp's profitability has suffered as a result of a "highly competitive bidding environment" and "execution shortfalls," adding that the company is making changes that should begin yielding improved results at Ralcorp in fiscal 2016.

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