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 restructure that will axe up to 600 jobs worldwide.

General Mills: owns the Häagen-Dazs brand
General Mills: owns the Häagen-Dazs brand

The company is also parting ways with Ann Simonds, the US senior vice-president and chief marketing officer, and is axing the international chief operating officer role, previously held by Chris O'Leary who announced his departure in October. 

A General Mills spokesperson confirmed Simonds would be leaving at the end of the year after two years in the chief marketing officer role.

Jeff Harmening, General Mills’ president and chief operating officer, 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/marketing Innovation leader, who will report to Harmening.

From 1 January, 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, the current senior vice-president and president of Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

As well as the four business groups, the company is aligning its current dairy strategic brand unit to this new 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. 

Harmening said: "We continue to prioritise 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. 

"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%."