Harmening succeeds Ken Powell, 62, who is retiring next year.
Harmening. 50, has held a variety of positions with General Mills since joining in 1994, including chief executive of Cereal Partners Worldwide, a joint venture between General Mills and Nestlé.
Consumer shift towards organic
He is also credited with the company’s expanded market position in the natural and organic food segment. Under his tenure as head of the US retail business, the packaged food giant acquired organic food producer Annie's and meat snack maker Epic Provisions.
Powell, who has been chairman and CEO of General Mills since 2007, will remain as chairman for the transition period until his retirement.