ConAgra Names Top Leaders for Post-Spinoff Lamb Weston
Timothy R. McLevish will become Lamb Weston’s executive chairman of the board of directors and Thomas P. Werner will be the new chief executive officer of the frozen potato, appetizer and value-added vegetable products company after it is spun off from ConAgra Foods, Inc., which is expected to happen this autumn.
The announcement was made on July 13 as ConAgra Foods filed a Form 10 Registration Statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in connection with its planned separation into two independent public companies: Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc. and Conagra Brands, Inc.
The filing provides detailed information on Lamb Weston’s strategy, business and historical financial results, and will be updated with additional information in subsequent amendments as part of the SEC review process. Additional information on the strategy and financial performance of both companies will be provided at separate investor days held prior to completion of the separation.
“We believe that this separation will create two focused companies that are well-positioned to unlock unique growth opportunities to win in the marketplace and create value for stockholders,” said Sean Connolly, president and chief executive officer of Chicago, Illinois, USA-headquartered ConAgra Foods. “We have made tremendous progress since last November when we announced our plan to separate, and the filing of the Form 10 marks an important milestone in this process. We remain on track to complete the separation by the fall of calendar 2016.”
“I’m excited to be named executive chairman of Lamb Weston,” said McLevish. “I’ve had the opportunity to get to know this business very well, and I believe it has terrific prospects as a stand-alone company. We are extremely well-positioned for long-term growth and shareholder value creation.”
Werner, currently president of Commercial Foods at ConAgra Foods, will serve as a director on the Lamb Weston board as well as chief executive officer.
“As Lamb Weston prepares for life as an independent company, it is ideally suited to continue to deliver leading products for our customers and value for our shareholders,” he commented. “I look forward to leading our talented team as we capitalize on the opportunities that lie ahead.”
Lamb Weston’s foodservice portfolio consists of frozen potato, sweet potato, appetizer and other vegetable products, as well as a continued presence in retail frozen products under licensed brands and private brands. The company will focus on opportunities to expand share in the United States marketplace and accelerate international growth, particularly within fast-growing emerging markets.
Conagra Brands will be comprised primarily of the operations currently reported as ConAgra Foods’ Consumer Foods segment, as well as the Foodservice business (minus the recently divested Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings and JM Swank businesses), which is currently reported in the Commercial Foods segment. Popular frozen food brands in that sector include Marie Callender’s, P.F. Chang’s and Healthy Choice. Conagra Brands’ core strategy will focus on further strengthening its consumer and foodservice portfolios, driving innovation and improving margins.
The separation is expected to be structured as a spin-off of the Lamb Weston business that is tax-free to ConAgra Foods and its shareholders. The separation remains subject to certain conditions, including, among others, obtaining final approval from the board of directors of ConAgra Foods, the SEC declaring the Form 10 effective, and receipt of an opinion from tax counsel on the tax-free nature of the spin-off to ConAgra Foods and its shareholders. The Form 10 filing is available for review at www.sec.gov under “Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc.”
About McLevish and Werner
Timothy R. McLevish, age 61, is the former chief financial officer and executive vice president at Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. and currently serves as a consultant to the company. From 2007-14 he held various positions within the Kraft Foods Group and Kraft Foods Inc., including executive vice president and chief financial officer. Before joining Kraft, he was senior vice president and chief financial officer of Ingersoll-Rand Company Limited, and prior to that held a series of leadership roles within Mead Corporation. In addition to ConAgra Foods, McLevish, who is a certified public accountant, also serves on the board of directors of Kennametal, Inc. and US Foods Holding Corp.
Thomas P. Werner, age 50, is ConAgra Foods’ current president, Commercial Foods, leading the company’s Lamb Weston and Foodservice businesses. Additionally, he oversees the Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings and JM Swank operations, which are in the process of being divested.
Werner also served as interim president of ConAgra’s Private Brands from June 2015 through its divestiture in February of 2016. Prior to his current position, he held a series of finance and managerial posts throughout ConAgra Foods. Werner is part of the governing committee representing Lamb Weston in the Kruiningen, Holland-headquartered Lamb Weston/Meijer joint venture, and serves on the board of directors of Ardent Mills, LLC.