- Food giant General Mills announced Tuesday it will promote controller Kofi Bruce to vice president of finance next month and then to CFO in February 2020 in a drawn-out transition intended to help the company meet its commitment to growth and profitability.
- “We have been intentional in the timing of our transitions,” said Jeff Harmening, chairman and CEO of the Minneapolis-based company.
- “Over his 10 years at General Mills, his leadership has helped to deliver significant profit improvement through operating cost savings, lower financing costs and dramatic increases in the Convenience Stores & Foodservice segment’s profitability,” the company said in the announcement. “Bruce is known for his ability to work cross-functionally in developing and implementing creative, sustainable solutions to complex organization challenges.”
Bruce joined General Mills in 2009, following 10 years of experience in finance leadership roles at Ford Motor Company and Ecolab. At General Mills, he served as treasurer, vice president of finance for the U.S. yogurt operating unit, and vice president of finance for the convenience store division, among other roles.
In his new role, Bruce will be responsible for allocating funds for developing new products, Amanda O’Neill, an associate director at S&P Global Inc., told the Wall Street Journal Tuesday. Recent product launches include yogurts with more protein and less sugar, she said.
He’ll also be involved with bringing down General Mills’ debt level, Christopher Growe, an analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., said in the Journal piece. The company’s net debt was at $15.4 billion last year, up from $8.7 billion in the previous year period, according to S&P Capital IQ numbers and as reported by the Journal. It stood at $14 billion at the end of fiscal 2019.
General Mills’ current CFO, Don Mulligan, a 20-year company veteran, will transition into an advisory role over the next several months and retire in June 2020.
Harmening credited Mulligan with helping to create a 185% increase in value to the company’s shareholders by crafting plans that balanced long-term growth and profitability with global-facing changes to its portfolio. “He’s helped mold General Mills into the global company it is today,” he said.