Diversified foods giant Campbell Soup Company, Camden, N.J., said Douglas R. Conant, 59, who has served as president and chief executive officer since January 2001, advised the board of directors that he plans to step down as CEO on July 31, 2011, the end of the company’s fiscal year. Campbell said its board elected Denise M. Morrison, 56 as executive vice president and chief operating officer, effective Oct. 1, 2010, in anticipation of her election to succeed Conant as CEO at the beginning of fiscal 2012. Morrison also was elected a director of the company as of October 1.

Campbell Soup's refrigerated and frozen food businesses include retail frozen Pepperidge Farm cakes and bakery goods; foodservice frozen breads; and refrigerated and frozen soups, sauces and chilis.

“Doug has provided exceptional leadership to our company during the past decade,” said Chairman Paul R. Charron. “He conceived and implemented a strategic vision that transformed Campbell into the focused, highly competitive business it is today. He has built a superb executive team.

"Through his extraordinary personal leadership, he has created an organization with world-class levels of employee engagement and a powerful commitment to win in the marketplace, the workplace and the community, all with the highest standards of integrity. The legacy of his wide-ranging contributions and sterling personal values will long endure at Campbell.”

In her new role, Morrison will be responsible for leading all of the company’s global businesses, said Campbell. The businesses in the North America Soup, Sauces and Beverages division, International division and Pepperidge Farm will report directly to her. Morrison also will oversee corporate strategy, research and development and global marketing services. Other corporate functions will continue to report to Conant.

Morrison has 35 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods industry. She joined Campbell in April 2003 as chief customer officer and was appointed president of Campbell USA in 2005. She has been the president of North America Soup, Sauces and Beverages since October 2007. From 1995 to 2003 she was employed by Kraft and Nabisco, serving most recently as executive vice president and general manager of Kraft Foods’ Snacks and Confections divisions. Earlier in her career, she held senior marketing and sales positions at Nestle USA. Morrison began her career at Procter & Gamble in 1975 and later worked at PepsiCo.

“I am honored to have been selected by the board to lead Campbell’s business,” said Morrison. “I look forward to accelerating the growth of our great brands, capitalizing on our global opportunities and building on our people’s engagement to reach their potential for high performance. Together we will continue to build the world’s most extraordinary food company by nourishing people’s lives everywhere, every day.”

Campbell Soup also named a new senior leadership team, which will report to Morrison. Its appointments include ...

Sean Connolly, 45, who has served as president of Campbell USA since November 2008, will succeed Morrison as president of the North America Soup, Sauces and Beverages division, which includes the company’s U.S. Soup business, Sauces and Beverages, Campbell Canada and North America Foodservice.

Mark Alexander, 46, currently senior vice president and chief customer officer, will become president – Campbell International. In his new role, Alexander will be responsible for the company’s businesses in Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America. Since joining Campbell in 1989, Alexander has held marketing, sales and management roles in the U.S., Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia and Hong Kong. From 2006 to 2009, he served as President – Asia Pacific.

Pat Callaghan, 59, will continue to serve as president – Pepperidge Farm, reporting to Morrison. A Pepperidge Farm veteran of more than 30 years, Callaghan has held a wide range of leadership positions in sales, marketing, business development and general management before becoming President of that business in 2006.

Irene Chang Britt, 47, currently president – North America Foodservice, will assume the role of senior vice president – chief strategy officer, leading strategic planning for the company’s global businesses. She will also be responsible for global marketing services and global consumer and customer insights.

George Dowdie, 55, senior vice president – Global R&D and Quality, will remain in his current role, reporting to Morrison. Dowdie has held a succession of leadership roles in research and development since he joined the company in December 2002.

In other leadership changes, Larry McWilliams, 54, who has served as president – Campbell International since 2005, has been appointed senior vice president – International Business Development, effective October 1. Carl Johnson, 62, who has been the company’s chief strategy officer since 2001, will become senior vice president & senior advisor to the CEO, and will retire from the company on April 1, 2011. McWilliams and Johnson will continue to report to Conant.