General Mills Promotes Powell to Chief Executive

General Mills, the maker of Cheerios cereal and Progresso soup, on Monday promoted president and chief operating officer Ken Powell to chief executive.

Powell succeeds Steve Sanger, 61, who had served as chairman and CEO since 1995. Sanger will continue as chairman through the end of the current fiscal year, which ends in May.

Powell, 53, is a 28-year veteran of Minneapolis-based General Mills. In addition to his most recent post, he has also served as CEO of the company's Yoplait yogurt division, president of its Big G cereals unit and CEO of Cereal Partners Worldwide, its international cereal joint venture with Nestle.

The company said that during Sanger's tenure as CEO, sales more than doubled to over $12 billion in the latest fiscal year.

"It has been a great privilege for me to serve as chief executive officer of General Mills," Sanger said in a statement.

General Mills shares were down about 50 cents on the New York Stock Exchange.