- General Mills has unveiled its new global business structure, which the company believes will promote growth and efficiency through more streamlined company leadership, maximized global scale and more agile operations, according to a news release Monday.
- The company has eliminated the position of international chief operating officer, effective Jan. 1. The four business groups — North America Retail, Europe and Australia, Asia and Latin America and Convenience Stores and Foodservice — will each be led by a group president and report directly to General Mills' president and COO Jeff Harmening.
- The restructuring also includes the alignment of General Mills' dairy strategic brand unit (SBU) to this new global business organization.
After 22 years of employment at General Mills, company veteran Harmening accepted his promotion to the company's president and COO, effective July 1. This move could demonstrate General Mills' intent to prepare Harmening for the role of CEO in the future, sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal in August. Now with this most recent global restructuring that positions each business to report directly to Harmening, it would appear that prediction is on target.
The company's alignment of its dairy SBU to this new model also comes as little surprise. In July, the company committed to overhauling 60% of its existing yogurt portfolio within the next year, which will include exploring more Greek yogurt offerings and nearby fast-growing subcategories like yogurt smoothies.
General Mills launched this initiative after its yogurt brands were struggling, despite their relative market share dominance. The company currently claims No. 2 positions in the global yogurt and super-premium ice cream segments thanks to its Yoplait and Häagen-Dazs brands, according to the company's news release. That leaves room for growth if General Mills can harness the innovation that has catapulted Chobani and other popular, but smaller, yogurt brands in recent years.
The company said it will name a new global CMO and marketing innovation leader, who, under the new structure, will also report to Harmening.