General Mills Names New CEO
General Mills announced that its board of directors has elected Jeffrey Harmening as chief executive officer, effective June 1.
A 23-year General Mills veteran, Harmening has been president and chief operating officer since July 2016. He succeeds Ken Powell, who has served as CEO and chairman since 2007. Powell will remain chairman for a transitional period until his full retirement, which is expected within the next year.
"General Mills has a long tradition of delivering top-tier returns that our shareholders have counted on for generations," said Powell. "We are focused on growth and feel strongly that Jeff is the right leader for the next leg of our journey."
Harmening joined General Mills in 1994 and has served in a variety of roles including senior vice president, chief executive officer of Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW), the joint venture with Nestlé that markets cereal in 130 countries. He also served as executive vice president, chief operating officer for U.S. Retail; as vice president and senior vice president of the Big G cereal division; and in a variety of marketing roles for Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Foodservice, and Big G new enterprises.
During Harmening's leadership of U.S. Retail, General Mills greatly expanded its position in the natural and organic segment, including acquisitions of Annie's and EPIC Provisions that helped make the company the fourth-largest U.S. manufacturer of natural and organic foods. While president of U.S. cereal, Harmening led a portfolio realignment of that resulted in multiple years of growth in sales, market share and profitability. As CEO of Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW), the joint venture with Nestlé that markets cereal in 130 countries, he oversaw a reorganization that positioned the business to deliver long-term profitable growth.