Kellogg CEO John Bryant to Step Down -- 4th Update
By Annie Gasparro and Joann S. Lublin
Kellogg Co. chose an outsider as its new chief executive, becoming the fifth major food and beverage company to name a new leader in a tumultuous year for the industry.
Steven Cahillane, the 52-year-old CEO of health-and-wellness company Nature's Bounty Co. and a former Coca-Cola Co. executive, will succeed Kellogg CEO John Bryant next week.
Mr. Bryant said Mr. Cahillane's experience running a company that sells natural and organic supplements will help Kellogg expand its own health-conscious product offerings.
"Steve can hit the ground running on Monday," Mr. Bryant, 51, said in an interview. Kellogg wouldn't make Mr. Cahillane available for an interview.
Mr. Cahillane emerged as a strong contender early in Kellogg's monthslong search for a new CEO, said a person familiar with the company. Mr. Bryant wouldn't say when directors began looking for his successor. But he said Kellogg has worked on succession plans with executive search firm Spencer Stuart for years. Some Kellogg executives passed over in favor of Mr. Cahillane were offered retention packages, Mr. Bryant said.
Kellogg board members hope Mr. Cahillane can quickly reignite sales growth, the person familiar with the company said. "The biggest challenge, obviously, is accelerating growth again on the top line," because Kellogg already has cut costs and made significant acquisitions, the person said.
"We don't expect major changes in Kellogg's strategy, but we believe Mr. Cahillane's fresh perspective will be good," said Brittany Weissman, a consumer analyst at Edward Jones.
In Mr. Bryant's nearly seven years as chief executive, Kellogg posted just one quarter of sales growth. The shift toward fresher, more niche brands has also confounded executives at other big food and beverage makers whose products filled U.S. grocery carts for more than a century. Coke, Mondelez International Inc., Hershey Co. and General Mills Inc. have all also named new chief executives in the past year.