John Harrington, leading flour buyer, retiring

by Josh Sosland
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MINNEAPOLIS — John Harrington, senior sourcing manager — commodities flour, General Mills, Inc., will retire, effective Sept. 1, ending a 35-year career in the milling industry. He will be succeeded by Brent Bash, commodities manager.

A graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in industrial administration, Mr. Harrington joined General Mills as a grain and feed merchandiser in 1974, where he held positions in Minneapolis, Kansas City and Buffalo. He joined The Pillsbury Co. in 1977 as a millfeed merchandiser. At Pillsbury, Mr. Harrington held a range of positions with assignments in Enid, Okla.; Kansas City; St. Louis and Minneapolis. In 1992, he joined the sourcing group, responsible for flour purchasing. He moved back to General Mills in 2001 when it acquired Pillsbury. At General Mills the scope of his responsibilities broadened considerably further. For many years, Mr. Harrington was widely known in the industry as the largest flour buyer (as measured by volume purchased annually) in the United States.

Announcing his retirement, John Wiebold, director of grain operations and flour procurement, and Todd Stohlmeyer, vice-president, commodity sourcing and grain operations, noted the many business connections Mr. Harrington established over the course of his career.

“John developed many relationships with some of the most influential grain, milling and food industry participants,” they said. “He maintains many of those relationships today. He is widely respected by his peers, customers and competitors for his sense of fair play, knowledge and commitment to customer service.”

The announcement said Mr. Harrington will devote more time, post-retirement, to family, travel, church and music.

“John will also break in a new banjo as he plans to pursue his love of music,” they said.

Mr. Bash, Mr. Harrington’s successor as senior sourcing manager — commodities flour, most recently was responsible for procurement of corn products at General Mills. He has been with the company for seven years.

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