Jan 06, 2012 • By

Our midyear meeting

In the middle of the vintage brick-wall backdrop of the cafeteria at General Mills’ James Ford Bell Technical Center, many of our Minneapolis employees gathered yesterday for our midyear meeting. Others, around the world, tuned in to follow the event via the video feed on our employee intranet.

Like many companies, it’s a tradition at General Mills to update employees on the company’s performance in the middle of the fiscal year and look ahead to our plans for the second half.

Sure, there’s always lots of talk about our latest earnings report – which we reported Dec. 20 for the second quarter of fiscal 2012, as well as news about our newest products – but our midyear meeting also provides a chance to hear from several employees on the front lines of some exciting and important projects for our global operations and brands.

The meeting highlights the things our people do every day behind the scenes in their departments and in a variety of roles, and it’s also an opportunity to pause and reflect on the current climate for the food industry and our place in it.

Chairman and CEO Ken Powell kicked off the meeting. He touched on our latest earnings report but also looked ahead.

“We’re outpacing our peers, and we’re on track to deliver full-year sales and external earnings targets,” Ken said. “I am confident of a solid second half as we compete in several growing categories for the business and push forward significant new product development and innovation.”

As I mentioned, several employees also took to the podium. Doug Martin, a marketing manager for our grain snacks, talked about the new Nature Valley protein bars and the overall food trend toward more protein-focused products.

Doug also saluted the work of the people who created the new protein bars, along with all the Nature Valley products.

“The true magic in all the Nature Valley success is R & D, where it stands for making it really, really delicious!” Doug said.

Ken closed the meeting by showcasing our company mission of Nourishing Lives, and the work we’re involved in with Join My Village and Partners in Food Solutions, for example.

“We care about Nourishing Lives, we care about the products that we make, but we also are very engaged in our community,” said Ken.

Our latest midyear meeting was my second with the company, since I joined General Mills last December. I’m glad our leadership makes it a priority because it’s an important part of our ongoing communication with employees, whether they were in the room with me or watching online.