General Mills' CMO exits amidst massive restructure and job cuts

General Mills has undergone a global restructure, which has seen its CMO for two years Ann Simonds exit. The company is also making about 400 to 600 cuts globally.

In view of the above, General Mill’s president and COO, Jeff Harmening, has assumed global operations responsibilities and will report to chairman and CEO, Ken Powell. The company has eliminated the position of international COO with effect from January 1, 2017 and it intends to name a new global CMO or marketing innovation leader, who will report to Harmening.

Four business groups will now report directly to Harmening, each led by a group president. These include Jon Nudim who will lead North America retail; Bethany Quam will lead Europe and Australia; Asia and Latin America will be led by Christina Law, and convenience stores and foodservice will led by Shawn O’Grady.

Law, over the years had the responsibility for General Mills brands in the region comprising Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Before joining General Mills in 2012, she was vice president of Worldwide Neutrogena and Worldwide Face and Sun Care for Johnson & Johnson.

She has held various prior leadership positions in her eight years with Johnson & Johnson where she was responsible for the acceleration of Johnson’s Baby business in Asia Pacific. This is especially within emerging markets, while serving also as general manager for Singapore consumer business. She also has previously spent nearly 13 years with Procter & Gamble based in Switzerland and Singapore.

In addition to these four business groups, the company is also aligning its current dairy strategic brand unit (SBU) to this new global organisation structure. The SBU, based in France and led by Olivier Faujour, will report to Harmening, and will work with the group presidents to explore further opportunities to drive growth and innovation for the dairy platform globally. The company holds the number two positions worldwide in both yogurt and super-premium ice cream, with brands including Yoplait and Häagen-Dazs.

Moreover, the company also aims to enhance its growth capabilities in several areas including strategic revenue management, e-commerce, and marketing innovation, and intends to augment its current talent with external expertise in these areas over the next several months. The new global revenue development group, which includes SRM and e-commerce, will report to Shawn O’Grady, group president convenience stores and foodservice and SVP, global revenue development.

Global operations functions including innovation, technology and quality (ITQ) and supply chain will continue to report to Harmening. Global corporate functions including finance, legal, human resources, and external relations will however continue to report to Powell.

“We continue to prioritise both growth and returns,” said Harmening. “The structural changes will help us unlock global growth opportunities and go after them by efficiently restructuring our teams and processes. In addition, the capability investments and savings generated by these changes will help us deliver our fiscal 2018,” he added.