Building a Global Treasury Enterprise
by Kathy Hiebert, Senior Finance Manager, International Treasury, General Mills, Inc.
General Mills has enjoyed a long and illustrious history as a producer of favourite brands across the United States, but its international activities were relatively limited until two major acquisitions. The French company Yoplait, which sold yoghurt products across 70 countries, was acquired in 2011, and Yoki Alimentos, originally a multi-brand family-owned business from Brazil in 2012. Prompted by these acquisitions, General Mills has created a global treasury organisation that is equipped to support both its current international activities and future aspirations, as Kathy Hiebert, Senior Finance Manager, outlines.
Original treasury structure
Before embarking on our global treasury project, our treasury comprised 10 full-time equivalents at our Minnesota headquarters. We relied heavily on local finance teams who performed treasury activities locally with group treasury support, but we did not have a treasury centre outside the United States to support our international operations. Domestically, we utilised a treasury management system (TMS), but managed international treasury operations manually using spreadsheets.
Although treasury was a dedicated function, the international treasury manager role was part of a finance rotation. Following the acquisition of Yoplait, we recognised the need to bring specialist treasury expertise on board to manage the increased scale and complexity of our treasury activities, which was the point that I joined the company.