CAMDEN, N.J. — David W. Johnson, chief executive officer of Michigan-based Gerber Products Co., has been named chief executive officer of embattled Campbell Soup Co., the companies announced today.
Meanwhile, Alfred A. Piergallini was elected chairman, president and chief executive of Gerber to succeed Johnson.
Campbell began searching for a new chief executive long before R. Gordon McGovern, 63, announced his early retirement in November.
Johnson's appointment comes amid growing dissent among members of Campbell's founding family, who control about 59% of the company's common shares.
Last month, three descendants of John T. Dorrance, who invented condensed soup in 1897, declared their desire to sell their 17% interest and push for a sale of the entire food-products company. On Tuesday, a second group of investors that also includes members of the Dorrance family said it will maintain control of its 2.5% stake and support efforts to keep Campbell independent.