General Mills announces new CEO

by Keith Nunes
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Jeffrey L. Harmening has been named CEO of General Mills.
 

MINNEAPOLIS – Jeffrey L. Harmening has been elected by General Mills Inc.’s board of directors to be the next CEO of the company effective June 1. Harmening will succeed Kendall J. Powell, who will remain chairman of the company during the transition and then retire.

Harmening is currently the president and COO of General Mills. Prior to becoming president and COO, Harmening led General Mills’ retail business where he was instrumental in expanding the company’s presence in the natural and organic categories with the acquisition of such businesses as Annie’s and Epic Provisions.

Kendall J. Powell

“General Mills has a long tradition of delivering top-tier returns that our shareholders have counted on for generations,” Powell said. “We are focused on growth and feel strongly that Jeff is the right leader for the next leg of our journey.”

Harmening originally joined General Mills in 1994.

“I am honored to take the helm of General Mills at such an important point in its history,” Harmening said. “Building on the legacy of those that have led this great company before me is an exciting challenge and one I do not take on alone. General Mills’ employees are singularly focused on driving growth and returns for the long term, and it will be a privilege to help them reach that goal.”

Powell was elected CEO of General Mills in 2007 and elected chairman in 2008. He started with the company in 1979 and held various positions throughout General Mills. He helped launch Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW), the company’s joint venture with Nestle SA, in 1990 and, after stints as president of Yoplait USA and Big G cereals, he became CEO of CPW in 1999. In 2006, he was elected president and COO of the company.

“Under Ken’s leadership as CEO, the company made significant strides to expand globally, developed a culture of Holistic Margin Management, and redoubled its focus on meeting the ever-changing needs of consumers,” said R. Kerry Clark, independent lead director of the General Mills board. “These achievements have resulted in outstanding value creation for General Mills shareholders, including 11 percent compound annual total shareholder returns.”

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