ConAgra Taps Campbell Marketer as New Chief Growth Officer

Serrao's Duties Will Include Marketing Amid Department Reorg

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Darren Serrao, the top marketing executive for Campbell Soup Co.'s largest division, has left to become chief growth officer at ConAgra Foods, where his oversight will include marketing.

Mr. Serrao was previously the senior-VP and chief marketing and commercial officer for Campbell's Americas Simple Meals and Beverages division, a $4.6 billion business that includes the marketer's namesake soup, as well as Prego, Swanson, V8 and Pace. Prior to that role, Mr. Serrao was Campbell's senior VP-innovation and business development.

Mr. Serrao's appointment comes as ConAgra reorganizes its marketing department as part of sweeping changes made by CEO Sean Connolly. Mr. Connolly took the helm in March after serving as CEO of Hillshire Brands, which was acquired by Tyson Foods last year. The changes include the departure of longtime ConAgra CMO Joan Chow, as Ad Age reported last week.

ConAgra does not plan to name a new CMO. Rather, the marketing department will be part of a newly formed "Growth Center of Excellence" that Mr. Serrao will oversee. The center's responsibilities include insights, innovation, research and development and marketing. The goal of the new structure is to "improve connectivity and boost speed-to-market, ensuring strong insights lead to relevant and timely products with the right marketing support," according to a ConAgra statement.

"Darren brings proven innovation and new product development expertise, operational experience and a strong consumer focus," Mr. Connolly said in a statement. "This appointment reflects our ongoing effort to remake ConAgra Foods into a focused, higher-margin, more contemporary and higher-performing company." Mr. Connolly's resume includes time spent as as president for Campbell Soup North America, a position through which he gained familiarity with Mr. Serrao.

ConAgra -- whose brands include Marie Callender's, Healthy Choice, Slim Jim and Orville Redenbacher's -- spent $103 million on measured media last year in the U.S., according to Kantar Media.

A Campbell spokeswoman said the company plans to fill Mr. Serrao's role but is not announcing a successor at this time.

The Americas Simple Meals and Beverages division for which Mr. Serrao led marketing was one of three new divisions the company created in early 2015 as part of a reorganization meant to align the company around product categories rather than by geographies or brand groups. The other divisions are Global Biscuits and Snacks -- which includes Pepperidge Farm -- and Campbell Fresh, which includes Bolthouse Farms.

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