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Campbell Soup CEO on military peers turned business leaders

When Campbell Soup (CPB) CEO Mark Clouse made the transition from the military to the business world, his first role was part of Kraft’s, now Kraft Heinz (KHC), Junior Military Officer program.

Now, more than 25 years later, Clouse is not the only leader who has gone from that Junior Military Officer program to CEO. Some of his military peers include: Hostess Brands CEO Andy Callahan, UTZ (UTZ) Brands CEO Howard Friedman, and Diageo (DEO) CEO Debra Crew.

Clouse talks with Yahoo Finance Executive Editor Brian Sozzi about the rise of these business leaders and the value Junior Military Officer programs can bring to both veterans and businesses, including Campbell Soup.

“They're bringing leadership, complex project management, problem solving, and then we build the business knowledge,” says Clouse.


For the full conversation with Clouse, click here. For more of our Lead This Way series, click here, and tune in to Yahoo Finance every Thursday at 3 p.m. ET.

Video transcript


BRIAN SOZZI: You've told me a story before. There's, like, a class of folks that you know--


BRIAN SOZZI: All rose the ranks. Tell us about what I think is a very special group of leaders. And who are they?

MARK CLOUSE: Yeah. So it's interesting. You know, always-- I think, kind of fascinating to look at the road that leaders follow. And what's interesting is there is a group of prior military officers. They called them JMOs at the time.

So junior military officers, that all started at Kraft Foods 25-plus years ago. And as you look across the landscape of food, there happens to be quite a few of us that have been lucky enough to find our way into some of these big roles. Andy Callahan, a great friend who, obviously, the CEO of Hostess.

Howard Friedman, who's leading one of my competitors. It's tough to see him there in UTZ. But-- Deb Crew, who's the CEO of Diageo.

There's just a great collection of individuals that kind of brought this corporate and military world together. So not a surprise, one of the first things started here at Campbell's was to build a JMO program. They're bringing leadership, complex project management, problem solving. And then, we build the business knowledge. And it's been a formula that, you know, for many before me, that ended up being quite successful.