Three Members of Campbell Soup Family Say They Don’t Want To Sell
CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) _ Three children of former Campbell Soup Co. Chairman John T. Dorrance Jr. vowed to keep the food industry giant independent in papers filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday.
John T. Dorrance III, Bennett Dorrance and Mary Alice Dorrance Malone, who together own about 31 percent of the company’s outstanding stock, filed separate statements with the SEC seeking to sever their holdings from a voting trust dissolved last Friday, said Scott Rombach, a company spokesman.
The three siblings and three of their cousins - all decendants of John T. Dorrance Sr., the inventor of condensed soup and company founder - control 57.8 percent of Campbell stock.
Their holdings had been pooled in a majority shareholders trust that was formed in 1987 in anticipation of the death the founder’s son, John Jr. Despite the effort, when Dorrance died last April, analysts speculated the company might be put up for sale.
Since the trust was dissolved Friday all six Dorrance decendants have filed papers to regain independent control of their holdings.
Thursday’s filings by the three siblings - who control 10.5 percent of the stock each - ″underscored their commitment to seeking to influence the board of directors in the direction of keeping Campbell an independent company,″ Rombach said.
In other company news, two members of the Dorrance family were elected Thursday to Campbell’s board of directors.
The elections, effective Jan. 1, increase the total number of directors from 13 to 15. Six are Dorrance family members.
The two new directors are Ms. Malone and Charlotte D. Colket Weber.
Ms. Malone breeds horses in Chester, Pa.
Ms. Weber, of Ocala, Fla., is an investor, philanthropist and art collector. She was recently named one of New York City’s richest women.
Campbell’s board had been unhappy with the company’s performance in recent years, but corporate brass have downplayed the significance of major changes at the company in recent months.
In November, R. Gordon McGovern stepped down as Campbell’s chief executive officer and president. A two-man interim management team was appointed to oversee day-to-day operations, but a replacement has not been named.
In August, the company announced a sweeping restructuring that includes the closing of manufacturing plants in Camden, Maryland and Tennessee with a loss of 2,800 jobs.