BOSTON — Steven A. Cahillane, president and chief executive officer of Kellogg Co., doesn’t think that the company needs to win North American Cereal for its algorithm to work — it just needs to be stable.
But just because Kellogg may not need to win, Mr. Cahillane doesn’t expect the newly installed leadership within the cereal business to rest on its laurels. In fact, he expects just the opposite — for leadership to attack the category with a singular mindset of winning.
“Think about how that’s perceived by the people who work in North American Cereal,” Mr. Cahillane said during a Sept. 7 presentation at the Barclays Consumer Staples Conference in Boston. “They’re like, wait, I don’t have to grow? I’m not that important? These things matter. People make up businesses. And so we’ve installed already a leadership team in North America Cereal that I think is exceptional. And they’re going to wake up each and every day with one thing on their mind: how do I win in this category? How do I add value? How do I innovate? How do I look at my production facilities and make sure that they’re the most productive? They’re going to be thinking about their resource allocation and investment needs with a singular focus of how you win in North American Cereal.”
Mr. Cahillane said the importance of focus and prioritization can’t be overstated as Kellogg moves forward with its new structure.“That North American Cereal business is going to be what they live for,” he said of the new leadership. “And again, a great management team and world-class brands. I mean, these are great brands. And we’ve been through a lot with cereal. All the way from — when I came on board, we decided to redo our whole price package architecture. We had all these things. It sounds like a litany of excuses. But we had all these things, then we had the fire, and then we had the strike and so forth. And you look at where we are today, the business has real momentum, sequentially improving, gained 400 basis points of share back again, and this team is super excited for their future. And I think it’s going to be a very bright future.”