General Mills to appoint new global CMO, as US marketing chief departs | M&M Global

General Mills to appoint new global CMO, as US marketing chief departs

General Mills is looking to appoint a new global chief marketing officer, as part of a major restructure that will see it cut up to 600 positions worldwide.

General Mills HQ

The food company, which owns brands including Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley and Cheerios, has revealed a new global structure that it claims will increase “operational agility”.

President and chief operating officer Jeff Harmening will run global operations, reporting to General Mills chairman and chief executive Ken Powell. In turn, four group presidents will lead North America Retail, Europe and Australia, Asia and Latin America, and Convenience Stores and Foodservice business unites, reporting to Harmening.

As part of the overhaul, it is cutting the role of US CMO, held by Ann Simonds, and international chief operating officer, held by Christopher O’Leary. Both are leaving the business. Simonds took up the top marketing role in November 2014.

General Mills said in a statement it “intends to name a new global CMO/Marketing Innovation leader”, who will also report to Harmening.

Ann Simonds
Ann Simonds

“As we wrap up our 150th anniversary year, we are ready to take the next step in our journey to truly operate as a global company and fully resource our best ideas to drive growth,” said Powell.

“We continue to prioritise both growth and returns,” added Harmening. “The structural changes announced today 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.”

In 2015, the company consolidated chunks of its global media business into Mindshare, having previously appointed the GroupM agency to its US planning and buying account.

Earlier this year, General Mills said that agencies pitching as part of its on-going US creative review must comply with strict diversity criteria. Simonds had claimed that participating agencies were required to be staffed with 50% women and 20% “people of colour” within the creative department.

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