Cash & Liquidity Management

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Building a Global Treasury Enterprise General Mills, long established producer of favourite brands across the US, have created a global treasury organisation equipped to support its current international activities as well as its future aspirations.

Building a Global Treasury Enterprise

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.

Key Points

  • After two overseas major acquisitions in 2011 and 2012, the food company General Mills decided to extend its treasury structure as the company’s business became increasingly international

  • To its original treasury at their Minnesota headquarters General Mills added a regional treasury centre in Geneva

  • The Geneva treasury now manages over 100 bank accounts in 12 currencies, has one primary bank and multiple local bank relationships plus an in-house bank and has implemented SWIFT in conjunction with SAP

  • The article describes the significant benefits already gained from the European treasury centre and outlines future planned activities there as well as the company’s intention to establish treasury centres in Asia and Latin America


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.

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