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2013 Power 50: Kendall J. Powell, No. 9 in Suppliers

Kendall J. Powell
Kendall J. Powell

Kendall J. Powell has guided General Mills through many endeavors that he has burnished to success, here and overseas.

Most recently, General Mills’ chairman and CEO initiated two acquisitions, Brazil-based Yoki, a producer of Brazilian-style baked goods and baking ingredients, and Yoplait Canada, adding to the company’s yogurt products that have already seen international sale success.

The two acquisitions are given much of the credit for net profits that top sales figures for the past three quarters of the company’s fiscal year. But a stream of new products, including some organic and natural, get some of the credit also.

“In our core U.S. market, we’ve introduced an array of new products, with standouts such as Yoplait Greek 100 and Nature Valley Protein,” Powell told SN. “In total, products introduced in just the last two years have generated more than $1.5 billion in U.S. retail sales.”

Powell told investors this spring that the company would expand distribution of two of its yogurt brands, Mountain High and Liberté, to more regions of the U.S. this year.

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“For our yogurt business in total, we are leveraging three great brands — Yoplait, Mountain High and Liberté — to deliver product innovation and impactful marketing programs to all parts of the category,” Powell said.

Overall, retail sales have been strong for General Mills products.

“For our categories in aggregate, Nielsen unit volume increased in each month of the third quarter, and year-to-date, both volume and pricing contributed to retail sales growth,” Powell said during a conference call with financial analysts at the end of the fiscal year’s third quarter.


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In a meeting this spring, Powell said sales in the U.S. were up 1% and operating profits were up 7%.

Some market share was lost in the U.S. cereal category, but Powell expected cereals to improve in the fourth quarter.

 The Minneapolis-based company, in a news release at the end of Q3 pointed out that General Mills’ net sales grew 8% to $4.43 billion.

“Retail sales for our five global categories are growing at attractive rates. And that good growth is expected to continue in the years ahead,” Donal Leo Mulligan, General Mills’ chief financial officer and executive vice president, told investors at a June 12 meeting.

“As I’ve said before, in challenging times it’s good to be in the food business, and we’re committed to generating another good year of growth,” Mulligan said.

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