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2012 Power 50: No. 41 Denise Morrison

If Andy Warhol were still alive, he’d have a tough time keeping up with all the new products coming down the pipeline from the Campbell Soup Co.

Denise Morrison, in her first year as the president and chief executive officer of Campbell Soup Co., has sought to imbue the Camden, N.J.-based company with a new spirit of innovation.

“In addition to character, competence and teamwork, we’ve added courage as a core value at Campbell,” Morrison told SN. “This means we expect our employees to generate bold ideas to grow our business, to challenge the status quo, and manage the healthy conflict that arises when they do so constructively. We’ve also encouraged our organization to embrace experimentation and asked them to be willing to take calibrated business risks, all with the highest degree of integrity.”

Some of that innovation can be seen in the more than 80 new soups, sauces, beverages and snacks that the company has in the pipeline for the current fiscal year — not to mention whole new product lines to come following last week’s agreement to acquire Bolthouse Farms, a producer of high-end beverages, salad dressings and other products.

Innovation, Morrison explained, is a key to success in the “simple meals” arena where Campbell is seeking to make a bigger splash.

“We must win the consumer by delighting them with tasty, affordable, convenient and nourishing food,” she said. “We have great potential to unleash the equities of our powerful soup and sauce brands in the larger simple meals arena, a $100 billion category in which innovation is now driving 50% of the category growth.”

Campbell’s, she said, is on the right track with new developments like its Campbell’s Go Platform — globally inspired flavors of soup in pouches targeting Millennials — and with Campbell’s Skillet Sauces that seek to facilitate dinner preparation.

“At the same time, we know we must rebuild the engagement of our loyal Campbell’s soup consumers by assuring that we maintain the vitality, versatility and appeal of our core soup brands,” she added.

This will involve brand-building efforts to drive consumer awareness and collaborating with retailers to maximize opportunities.

Campbell is also seeking to expand globally, with a particular focus on emerging markets in the Asia Pacific region and Latin America.

Morrison, who joined Campbell in 2003 as president of global sales and chief customer officer, said becoming CEO enabled her to look at the organization with “fresh eyes.”

“The seismic shifts in the economy, the globalization of food, the digital tsunami, generational complexity, and the fact that health and wellness means so many different things to so many different people, all present significant challenges and major opportunities,” she said. “As we focus forward, Campbell is embracing these changes and is focused outward on consumers and ahead to create our future.

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