General Mills names Jeff Harmening CEO

Credit: General Mills

Cereal giant General Mills has announced that Jeff Harmening will replace Ken Powell as chief executive of the company.

Powell, who has served as chief executive and chairman for the past 10 years, is set to retire within the next year. Harmening will officially take on his new role on June 1, 2017.

50-year-old Harmening most recently served as president and chief operating officer of General Mills, a position he took on last year. A 23-year veteran of the company, Harmening has held a number of roles at General Mills, including executive vice president and chief operating officer of US retail.

Under his leadership of the US retail business, General Mills acquired organic snacks maker Annie’s and Epic Provisions, a brand that specializes in gluten-free and paleo-friendly foods. The company has been making moves into the natural and organic segment in recent years as consumers increasingly look for healthier, less-processed foods.

Sales at General Mills have struggled as of late due to changing consumer tastes. In March, the maker of Cheerios and Lucky Charms reported its seventh straight quarterly sales decline. To combat sluggish sales, the company has made a commitment to rid its cereals of artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources.

Late last year, the Minneapolis-based company announced that it would cut 400-600 jobs worldwide as part of a major reorganization.

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