October 8, 2021
By Svea Herbst-Bayliss
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Investment firm Sachem Head Capital Management LP said on Thursday that it owns a stake in US Foods Holding Corp and plans to push for changes at the food service company.
Sachem Head said it is being advised by food industry veteran Bernardo Hees, who was until 2019 the CEO of the Kraft Heinz Co.
In a regulatory filing, the New York-based investment firm said it owns 5.1% of the company’s common shares and a 4.1% stake in cash settled swaps, making for an economic exposure of 9.2%.
The firm, run by Scott Ferguson, plans to hold discussions with the company’s board and management but declined to say exactly what kind of changes it would like to see at the company, whose brands include Cross Valley Farms fresh produce and Devonshire bakery products.
The stock price closed at $37.28.
Its main competitors are Sysco Corp. and Performance Food Group.
Hees is currently working for Sachem Head as an advisor and has agreed to serve as a potential nominee to the board. But Sachem Head has not yet said whether it plans to nominate directors to the company’s 10-member board.
Pietro Satriano, US Foods’ current CEO and chairman, joined the company in 2011 and was appointed chairman in 2017.
Ferguson recently challenged International Flavors & Fragrances, where he nominated four directors to the board and pushed the company to improve its financial performance. After the two sides reached a settlement, IFF’s long-serving CEO, Andreas Fibig, last month announced plans to retire but said he would stay on until a replacement is found.
Sachem Head owns stakes in fewer than 30 companies, with IFF and animal health company Elanco, where Ferguson was invited onto the board late in 2020, making up the bulk the portfolio.
(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)
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