Kellogg’s CEO Chief Executive John Bryant is retiring and has chosen a nutrition executive to replace him. Indeed, the maker of big packaged foods brands like Frosted Flakes, Pop-Tarts, and Eggo Waffles will bring in Steven Cahillane next week to join the company’s board. Cahillane is currently an executive from the Nature’s Bounty Co, known for selling popular health food brands like Balance bars, Ester-C vitamins, and Solgar supplements.
The 51-year-old Bryant will hold onto this executive chairman position until March. That is when Cahillane, 52, will step in.
This is quite a crucial transition for Kellogg’s as the Battle Creek, MI-based packaged foods company has continued to struggle to make its once extremely popular cereals and snacks more appealing to an increasingly more health-conscious American consumer. The company has seen its revenue fall, steadily, every year since 2013 and announced last month a plan to add probiotics to its existing Special k cereal in an effort to boost sales.
Cereals, of course, are Kellogg’s bread-and-butter, so to speak. However, the company’s core business suffered a quarterly sales decline last falling, falling 2.5 percent to $3.19 billion. That includes a 2 percent drop in sales in North America (so, 80 percent of the decline). In addition, comparable sales are also down nearly 4 percent.
It is important to note that Bryant has a lot of experience in the food and beverage industry. He is not only the present CEO at Nature’s Bounty Co, but has also held top positions with the Coca-Cola Co and the major beer conglomerate AB InBev.
All major packaged food conglomerates have been looking for more ways to appeal to consumers who are, more and more, turning to fresh foods and smaller, local brands. Consumers are more health conscious than ever, and they really want to know what is in the food they are buying. This has caused companies like Kellogg, of course—but also competitors like Post and General Mills—to cut costs and change their strategies to capture the shifting consumer trends that are quickly shying away from processed foods.
And this shift is greatly reflected in the company’s value: Kellogg stock is down 19 percent on the year, which is on par with the rest of the industry.