Cereal maker General Mills to cut as many as 600 jobs

Food company General Mills Inc. on Monday unveiled a new organizational structure aimed at boosting growth and helping the company scale internationally.

The new structure, which the maker of Cheerios said will "support growth and drive greater efficiency", comes as the company continues to face sluggish sales.

As part of the change, the company's French dairy unit, which makes Yoplait and Häagen-Dazs ice-cream and where General Mills is number two in the world, will work independently and report direct to Harmening.

General Mills did not specify in what areas the job cuts would impact but said they would be global. The company confirmed that it is now conducting an external search to fill a new global chief marketing officer, marketing innovation leader role but declined to clarify whether it plans to hire a new head of marketing in the United States, which remains its biggest market.

These will cover North America, Europe and Australia, Asia and Latin America, along with a fourth group handling convenience stores and food service.

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The company's worldwide business accounts for approximately 28% of General Mills' net sales and recorded $4.6 billion in sales in the fiscal year ended May 29. Instead, General Mills will divvy up the regions between four group presidents.

General Mills said it wants to enhance its capabilities in areas including strategic revenue management, e-commerce, and marketing innovation, "and intends to augment its current talent with external expertise in these areas over the next several months".

General Mills, which owns the Yoplait yogurt brand, said its "dairy strategic brand unit" would be "aligned" to the new structure.

"We continue to prioritize both growth and returns", said Harmening. "The structural changes announced [Monday] 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 [targets]".

  • Toni Ryan