The company said the split will create more focused companies that would be better-positioned to grow. Kellogg's signature cereal business has struggled with sales as more people switch to higher-protein breakfast options that can be eaten on the go.
"These businesses all have significant standalone potential, and an enhanced focus will enable them to better direct their resources toward their distinct strategic priorities," Cahillane said in a statement. "In turn, each business is expected to create more value for all stakeholders, and each is well positioned to build a new era of innovation and growth."
The snacking company represents about $11.4 billion in net sales, Kellogg said. The North American cereal company, maker of Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops, has sales of about $2.4 billion, and the plant-based company, which includes the MorningStar Farms brand, has sales of about $340 million.
Although the company says no employees are moving, the headquarters announcement represent a blow — at least to the pride of — Battle Creek, the "cereal city" synonymous with the Kellogg brand since W.K. Kellogg founded the company more than a century ago.
Kellogg executives have made some recent high-profile home purchases in the Chicago area, including the $5.62 million purchase of a five-bedroom mansion by Cahillane in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Crain's Chicago Business reported. Chief Growth Officer Monica McGurk bought a house in suburban Winnetka for $2.05 million.
The spinoffs will result in existing Kellogg shareholder receiving shares in the newly spun off companies. The company said it hopes to complete the transactions by the end of 2023, with the cereal spinoff likely to happen first.
The last major food company to split was Kraft Foods, which divided into Kraft and Mondelez in 2012.
—Crain's Chicago Business contributed to this report