General Mills to axe hundreds of jobs and create global CMO role

General Mills is set to create a global chief marketing officer position amid a restructuring that will axe up to 600 jobs worldwide.

MINNEAPOLIS: General Mills is set to create a global CMO position amid a restructuring that will axe up to 600 jobs worldwide. 

The company is also parting ways with Ann Simonds, U.S. SVP and CMO, and axing the international COO role, previously held by Chris O'Leary, who announced his departure in October. 

A General Mills spokesperson confirmed Simonds will leave at the end of the year after two years in the CMO role.

Jeff Harmening, General Mills’ president and COO, has assumed global operations responsibilities, reporting to chairman and chief executive Ken Powell.  

The company said it intends to name a new global chief marketing officer and marketing innovation leader who will report to Harmening.

Starting on January 1, four business groups will report directly to Harmening, each led by a group president, including Europe and Australia, which will be led by Bethany Quam, SVP and president of Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

As well as the four business groups, the company is aligning its dairy strategic brand unit to this global structure. The dairy strategic brand unit, based in France, will work with the group presidents to explore further opportunities to drive growth and innovation for the dairy platform globally. General Mills said it holds number two positions worldwide in both yogurt and super-premium ice cream, with brands including Yoplait and Häagen-Dazs. 

"We continue to prioritize both growth and returns. The structural changes announced today will help us unlock global growth opportunities and go after them by efficiently restructuring our teams and processes," said Harmening. "In addition, the capability investments and savings generated by these changes will help us deliver our fiscal 2018 adjusted operating profit margin target of 20%."

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