Kellogg names leadership team for upcoming cereal business

Kellogg has chosen a team of experienced insiders to lead the cereal business being formed as part of its upcoming split into three standalone companies.

Gary Pilnick, a 22-year veteran of Kellogg, will be CEO of the cereal business, tentatively referred to as North America Cereal Co. He currently serves as vice chairman of corporate development and chief legal officer for Kellogg. 

In a statement, the company highlighted Pilnick’s “significant and wide-ranging expertise bridging corporate strategy, M&A, legal, investor relations, and supply chain, amongst other areas.” He has overseen several “complex operational initiatives” at the company, according to Kellogg, including shaping its Deploy for Growth strategy and spearheading its expansion into Africa. 

Current Kellogg CEO Steve Cahillane, who will lead the new standalone snacks business, also touted Pilnick’s “instrumental” role in Kellogg’s 2012 acquisition of Pringles from Procter & Gamble.  

Prior to his work at Kellogg, Pilnick held leadership roles at Specialty Foods Corp. and Sara Lee Corp.

“Gary and his team of seasoned leaders bring significant depth and breadth of experience and extensive knowledge to North America Cereal Co., all of which will enable the business to continue building momentum and capitalize on its compelling long-term opportunities for investment and profit growth, driven by its portfolio of iconic, world-class brands,” Cahillane said.

In addition to Pilnick, Kellogg tapped five other company veterans for key C-suite roles at the cereal company.

  • Dave McKinstray, current vice president of integrated business planning, will serve as chief financial officer. McKinstray, who served as CFO of both Kellogg’s U.S. snacks and retail businesses, brings experience in risk management, treasury and corporate and financial planning.
  • Sherry Brice-Williamson, current vice president of global food safety and quality, will serve as the cereal business’ chief supply chain officer. Brice-Williamson joined Kellogg more than a decade ago from its acquisition of Pringles.
  • Doug VanDeVelde, a 25-year company veteran and current general manager of Kellogg’s cereal business, will serve as chief growth officer.
  • Bruce Brown, a 25-year company veteran and current vice president of customer strategy and planning, will serve as chief customer officer. Brown has held a variety of leadership roles across Kellogg’s cereal and snacks divisions.
  • Shannon Bible, who has been with Kellogg for nearly a decade and currently serves as senior director of strategic initiatives, will be chief transformation officer of the cereal business. Kellogg touted Bible’s role in leading transitions, including its $1.3 billion sale of Keebler to Ferrero.

The appointments will be effective upon the separation of North America Cereal Co., which Kellogg said is on track to be completed by the end of 2023.

Kellogg has said it believes its cereal business, which amassed roughly $2.4 billion in net sales in 2021, will see growth as an individual company. In its most recent quarterly earnings call, Kellogg said its cereal operations are recovering at a quicker pace than it anticipated from a 2021 strike and factory fire, with organic net cereal sales up 8% over the previous quarter.