Carlos M. Gutierrez, chairman and CEO of Kellogg, said yesterday [Monday] that the Battle Creek-based company will begin growing again in 2002.

With 2001 sales of US$8.85bn, Kellogg ranks as the largest cereal producer in the world, but two major changes last year affected growth and profit in the short term; a complete revamp of its operating strategy and the acquisition of cookie and cracker maker Keebler Foods.

Speaking during a Web-broadcast presentation at the 2002 Consumer Conference, sponsored by Banc of America Securities, Gutierrez said: "Changing a strategy and integrating a major acquisition are enormous undertakings separately, so you can imagine doing both in the same year. And yet we accomplished these objectives more quickly and smoothly than we had anticipated.

"We sacrificed short-term sales and profit - we believe it was very much worth it - and emerging through all this is a better business model and enhanced capabilities."