Ken Powell is chairman and chief executive officer of General Mills, the world’s sixth-largest food company, producing and marketing leading brands such as Cheerios, Häagen-Dazs, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Green Giant, Nature Valley and more.
Powell joined General Mills in 1979 and progressed through a variety of positions in the company. He has spent more than a third of his career overseas, and in 1990 helped launch Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW) ¬– the company’s joint venture with Nestlé based in Lausanne, Switzerland.
He returned to the United States to become president of Yoplait USA in 1996, and was named president of the General Mills’ Big G cereal division in 1997. Powell returned to Switzerland in 1999 to become chief executive officer of CPW, helping grow the joint venture into what is now a $2 billion global cereal business marketing in more than 130 countries around the world.
In 2006, Powell was elected president and chief operating officer of General Mills with overall global operating responsibility for the company. He was elected chief executive officer of General Mills in September 2007 and chairman in May 2008.
General Mills is regularly listed among the world’s leading companies. In 2008, the company was named one of Fortune magazine’s “most admired companies” and “100 best companies to work for.” Working Mother magazine has regularly named General Mills a “top 10 company for working mothers,” and the company has also received the prestigious Catalyst Award for advancing women in management. In 2008, the London Sunday Times named General Mills UK operations as one of its “100 best companies to work for.”
Powell serves on the General Mills board of directors, the Medtronic board of directors, the supervisory board of Cereal Partners Worldwide, and the Twin Cities United Way. He is also a member of the Business Council, the Business Roundtable and the Minnesota Business Partnership.
Powell earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Harvard in 1976 and his MBA from Stanford University in 1979.