GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. (AP) — General Mills chief executive officer Steve Sanger is stepping down effective immediately, the nation's second-largest cereal maker said Monday.
The company promoted president and chief operating officer Ken Powell to chief executive officer. Sanger will remain as chairman through May, according to General Mills.
Spokeswoman Kirstie Foster said it was Sanger's decision to step down as CEO. The board made the decision Monday morning, she said, just before the company's annual meeting. The hand over was ''a planned and thoughtful part'' of the company's succession plan, although General Mills previously had not announced that Sanger would be leaving his post, she said.
''The board values Steve's continuing leadership as chairman, and Steve agreed to continue in that role for a time to aid in the transition,'' she said.
Sanger, 61, has been chairman and CEO since 1995. Powell, 53, has worked at General Mills since 1979.
''The board and I have great confidence that Ken will be an outstanding chief executive officer of General Mills,'' Sanger said in a prepared statement. ''He has extensive knowledge of our global food categories, our customers and our worldwide operations.''
Shares fell 61 cents, or 1 percent, to $57.88 Monday.
General Mills Inc., the maker of Cheerios cereal and Pillsbury baking mixes, is second to Kellogg as the United States’ biggest cereal maker.