News Releases

Sep 30, 2014

General Mills chief marketing officer Mark Addicks to retire in 2015


Ann Simonds to succeed Addicks as chief marketing officer

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – General Mills said today that Mark Addicks, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, has announced plans to retire in 2015 after a stellar 26-year career with the company. Ann Simonds, the current president of General Mills’ Baking Products division, will succeed Addicks as chief marketing officer.

Addicks, who had previously informed the company of his plans, will work to transition responsibilities to Simonds over a period of several months, beginning Nov. 1.  

Addicks joined General Mills in 1988, and has been instrumental in driving the company’s global brand building strategies. As CMO, Addicks led General Mills’ advertising, promotions, brand public relations, design, packaging, online, licensing and multicultural initiatives. Over a 26-year career, Addicks helped define and build some of the world’s most iconic food brands, including Cheerios, Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Pillsbury and more, while also creating leading equity platforms, including Box Tops for Education and Qué Rica Vida.

“Mark has been a remarkable visionary who has helped shape the purpose of our brands to best serve our consumers,” said Ken Powell, Chairman and CEO of General Mills. “We thank Mark for his incredible contributions to General Mills over 26 terrific years. We know he will continue to be a marketing thought leader and brand-building visionary even in his retirement.”

Addicks was named vice president of Marketing Communications in January 2000, and led the successful integration of the General Mills and Pillsbury marketing functions in 2001. He was named chief marketing officer in January 2004, and was promoted to his current position as senior vice president, CMO, in June 2007.

Addicks’ work has been widely recognized with numerous industry awards, both for his innovation and marketing expertise. Advertising Age named him one of the top 100 marketers in 1999, and one of the top 25 Power Brokers in both 2003 and 2004. In addition, he has been a guest lecturer at some of the nation’s leading business programs, including Harvard, Tuck and the University of Chicago.

He holds an MBA from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas.

Ann Simonds will succeed Addicks and lead a newly-configured marketing organization that adds Consumer Insights and the marketing capabilities within what General Mills calls GCom. Simonds, also a senior vice president at General Mills, will report to Jeff Harmening, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Retail, in her new role.  Simonds is currently president of the company’s Baking Products division. 

“Ann is a world-class marketer who has spent nearly two decades at General Mills as a steward for our company’s biggest brands,” said Harmening. “As a dedicated and trusted business leader, Ann has been a strong advocate for deep consumer understanding, and has created and advanced leading strategic philanthropy initiatives, such as Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories literacy program, the Stirring Up Wishes campaign for the Make a Wish Foundation, and Bake the Change, a Betty Crocker program inspiring people to make a difference in the world through baking.”

Since 2012, Simonds has led the General Mills Baking Products division as President.  Simonds’ career spans leadership roles on brands such as Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Cheerios, Wheaties and Yoplait, as well general management roles in the company’s Convenience and Foodservice businesses.   Over the years, her teams have captured industry awards for purposeful, impactful campaigns. In 2011 she was named a top woman in grocery by Progressive Grocer for leading Betty Crocker into the digital age with the innovative Betty Crocker iPhone and iPad digital apps, which placed recipes at consumers’ fingertips.

Simonds spent five years as a marketer for Johnson & Johnson in the U.S. and Europe before joining General Mills in 1995.

Simonds is an active member of the General Mills community, playing leadership roles in the company’s United Way campaign and the General Mills Women’s Forum. She represents the company at the National Association of Female Executives and is a member of the Young Presidents Organization.

She holds an MBA from Harvard and a bachelor’s degree from Smith College.

Bridget Christenson
General Mills

(763) 764-6364

About General Mills
General Mills is one of the world’s leading food companies, operating in more than 100 countries around the world. Its brands include Cheerios, Fiber One, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Yoplait, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., USA, General Mills had fiscal 2014 worldwide sales of US $17.9 billion.