Blog: Peterson leaves Kellogg after 20 years
Dean Best | 5 April 2011
Greg Peterson, the tall American who had spent 20 years at cereal giant Kellogg, has left the business, the company confirmed today (5 April).
Peterson had spent the last five years as MD of Kellogg's UK operations and it was in that role that just-food interviewed him back in August when the company - a constant target of health campaigners - announced plans to lower the sugar in its stable of Coco Pops products.
At the same time, Kellogg added to the Coco Pops stable with Choc N' Roll, a healthier product aimed at children.
The moves were welcomed by campaigners but were - to a degree - damned with faint praise, with the National Obesity Forum arguing that Kellogg should have cut the sugar in its cereals "years ago".
Peterson, however, took the criticism in his stride and dismissed another accusation - that Kellogg and its peers lobbied the European Parliament to vote against the imposition on traffic-light labels, which flag products high in salt and sugar.
An affable American, Peterson departs with Kellogg having had a tough few months in the UK, although the company stated he was always set to end his "UK assignment" in the first half of this year.
As in the US, Kellogg faced stiff competition in the UK last year and, in February, new Kellogg CEO John Bryant said the UK remained a "difficult" trading environment.
"The UK has gone through similar dynamics to the US," Bryant told analysts as Kellogg issued its 2010 results. "We broadly held our share in the [cereal] category, but it is a difficult environment. There is significant inflation in Europe, particularly around sugar."
He added: "We have got strong innovation and brand building but the first quarter is a tough cop for the UK and we expect better trends for the back part of the year. Europe is probably going to continue to be the most difficult operating environment for Kellogg this year."
Flemming Sundoe, the former head of Kellogg's business in the the Nordic region and Germany, has replaced Peterson on an interim basis. He now oversees a market that, while significant for Kellogg, remains a challenge.
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