Mick Beekhuizen, who’s been CFO of Greek yogurt maker Chobani since early 2016, will jump to a different food business next month as the new finance chief at Campbell Soup, effective Sept. 30.
Anthony DiSilvestro, a 23-year Campbell employee who’s been at the finance helm for five and a half years, will exit the company on Oct. 15 to “pursue other interests,” the company said.
Beekhuizen was an investment banker and private equity manager at Goldman Sachs from 2000 to 2013. He left to take the CFO post at Education Management (EDMC), which at the time was a troubled publicly held operator of more than 100 for-profit, post-secondary educational institutions.
The company’s star had begun to fall in 2011, after the Public Broadcasting System released a documentary in which Art Institutes, at the time an EDMC subsidiary, was portrayed in an unflattering light.
Beekhuizen played a key role in re-engineering EDMC’s capital structure, which eliminated $1.3 billion in outstanding debt. Also during his three years with the company, it was delisted from Nasdaq in 2014; and in 2015 it agreed to pay nearly $200 million to forgive loans to students who had alleged they were misled and to resolve federal fraud claims.
Upon Beekhuizen’s departure from EDMC in 2016, a company press release quoted him as saying, “I thank EDMC for the opportunity to make a difference in the careers and lives of so many students.”
EDMC entered Chapter 7 bankruptcy and liquidation proceedings in 2018, listing assets of less than $50,000 and liabilities between $500 million and $1 billion.
As the misdeeds at EDMC began before Beekhuizen’s tenure, he apparently escaped with an untarnished reputation, almost immediately landing the CFO post at Chobani. Both before and after his arrival the yogurt company was regularly the subject of speculation that it would go public, but it has yet to do so.
In Campbell’s announcement of Beekhuizen’s hiring, CEO Mark Clouse said, “Mick’s background and experience in leading publicly traded and private food companies will serve Campbell well as we set the company on a course to deliver sustainable, profitable growth and create shareholder value.”
Campbell is scheduled to report its quarterly and annual earnings results on Friday, following the close of its 2019 fiscal year on July 31.
Its shares have been on a roll this year, rising more than 25%. However, in an August 25 research report, TheStreet rated the stock a “hold.”
“The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed — some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks,” TheStreet said.
Beekhuizen clearly will have some financial challenges ahead. While the company has experienced robust earnings growth in the past year, its gross profit margin of 32.78% in its third quarter was “lower than desirable,” according to the report, having decreased from the same quarter the previous year.
Along with that, the company’s net profit margin of 3.85% trailed that of the subsector average, and net operating cash flow fell 17% from the year-prior quarter.