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General Mills Names Coke's Ivan Pollard as Global CMO

By Published on .

Former Coca-Cola marketer Ivan Pollard becomes General Mills' global chief marketing officer after exits by both the CMO and the chief creative officer.
Former Coca-Cola marketer Ivan Pollard becomes General Mills' global chief marketing officer after exits by both the CMO and the chief creative officer. Credit: General Mills

General Mills Inc. has named Ivan Pollard its global chief marketing officer, filling a role the company announced in December as part of a broader management shakeup.

Pollard, who begins July 10, will report to Jeff Harmening, a longtime General Mills executive who became the company's CEO on June 1. Pollard left Coca-Cola in May after a six-year run at the beverage giant. At Coca-Cola, he was senior VP-strategic marketing for Coca-Cola North America. Now, he'll be the person leading General Mills' effort to establish a global marketing and media planning function, the company said.

For General Mills, which for now relies heavily on in-store purchases and has a limited e-commerce presence, Pollard said he wants to strike the right balance of using traditional approaches and more modern digital marketing tactics.

"It's that mixed reality that's coming that I think is really important, everything from the Wheaties box all the way through to the website," Pollard said in a phone interview. "I think the challenge ahead of us is to find out the best way for our particular businesses and brands to leverage the best of the old and the new."

Pollard is joining General Mills after more than a year of major changes within the marketing organization. General Mills, the company behind brands including Cheerios, Pillsbury, and Yoplait, searched last year for new creative agencies for its U.S. retail brands. In late October, MDC Partners' 72andSunny and Redscout were named as the company's primary U.S. creative agency partners. In early December, Joan Creative, Erich & Kallman and The Community were added to the agency roster to work on projects.

But days later, General Mills announced that Chief Marketing Officer Ann Simonds, who led the agency search with Chief Creative Officer Michael Fanuele, would leave at the end of 2016. And this year, Fanuele departed the company. Plus, in May 2016, Jackie Woodward left the role of VP of global media to become CMO at Krispy Kreme. That media role remains unfilled.

Before his time at Coca-Cola, Pollard was a global partner in Naked Communications, a connections planning company, and had roles at agencies including BMP (now DDB Needham), and Wieden & Kennedy. He was also a founding partner of Unity, which was acquired by the Ingram Partnership.

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