Douglas R. Conant, former president and CEO of Campbell Soup Company, received the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) William H. Albers Industry Relations Award for his excellence in trading partner relations in the food retail supplier community. The award was presented at FMI’s Midwinter Executive Conference in Orlando, Fla.
As Campbell’s 11th leader, Conant faced the challenges of reversing a declining market value, and arguably taking the company through its single most comprehensive transformation in 132 years. He attributes his ability to make strategic investments in team leadership, marketing and products to Campbell Soup Company’s success.
Conant told his staff at a leadership forum when he was CEO, “I know that growth requires well directed and orchestrated action. And I do know that if there’s one thing you should expect from your leadership team while I’m here: You should expect action.”
Conant was instrumental in working with retailers to augment store experiences and trading partner relations. Under Conant’s leadership, the company developed innovative, in-store iQ Maximizer racks aimed at improving shopper experiences by organizing soups into “Shoppable Chunks.” This customer improvement translated to improvements in retail operations, as supermarkets witnessed a decrease in both labor needed for restocking shelves and loss from expired foods.
Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI, complimented Conant’s legacy and merchandising strategies, saying, “Conant bridged his commitment to his employees to that of the marketplace. Throughout his tenure, I knew Conant as an agile leader and an innovative trading partner at retail.”
Conant remains active on several committees in order to strengthen the supplier bond. His accomplishments include the support of FMI’s board meetings and the Passion for Food program, which invites key retail leaders to share ideas and showcase the Campbell’s culinary experience.
Conant is now the best-selling author of TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments, which enforces the importance of seizing learning opportunities during daily challenges to become a better leader, and draws upon in his speaking circuit engagements. When he’s not presenting thought leadership throughout the country, he’s lending his time as chairman of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), as a member of the Board of the National Organization on Disabilities (NOD) and as a member of the Board of the Families and Work Institute.