There are brands to pick-off at Kellogg’s

Steve’s breakdown: Kellogg has a new North American President and though we don’t think any of Leo Burnett’s clients will move, there are a number of brands worth testing out with the new boss. Here’s our hit list: Froot Loops, Honey Smacks, Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars, Pop-Tarts, Pringles, Rice Krispies and Cracklin’ Oat Bran cereal.

BATTLE CREEK, MI: Kellogg Co. named Chris Hood, head of its European operations, as president of Kellogg North America. The change is effective July 1.

Hood will be responsible for Kellogg’s largest region, including morning foods, snacks, frozen foods, specialty channels, Kashi and Canada. He replaces Paul Norman, who retired in April.

Hood joined Kellogg in 2012 as part of the Pringles acquisition after 19 years with Procter & Gamble, where he was vice-president and general manager for Pringles’ North American business. Kellogg CEO Steve Cahillane said Hood is “a talented executive” who will oversee a division that is “on firm strategic and financial footing.”

Hood’s background as a food executive and brand manager should serve him well in this new stateside position.

Before being named president of Kellogg’s European business in 2013, Hood was vice-president and head of European snacks, which should be useful as Kellogg looks to that segment for even greater growth following its shift away from direct store delivery.

Like other cereal companies, Kellogg needs to innovate with new and interesting products consumers view as healthier or risk a continued sales slump. That could be Hood’s greatest challenge as he takes on the company’s largest and most important region. Last quarter, Kellogg said cereal consumptionremained soft, but the company posted accelerated growth in frozen foods and Pringles and underlying improvement in U.S. Snacks following its transition out of direct store delivery. 

Hood may bring a slight outsider’s perspective to the snack, cereal and frozen foods areas since he has been based overseas but is knowledgeable about where Kellogg is going in terms of its U.S. strategy. That could be an asset in shaking up and reinvigorating Kellogg’s strategies in those segments.

As a first step, it may make sense for Hood to examine all of Kellogg’s U.S. brands to identify anything that should be switched up, more aggressively marketed or jettisoned from the portfolio. That might assure shareholders, analysts and consumers that the new president will make needed changes. Hood also could push Kellogg to quicken its expansion into snacks and better-for-you items that jibe with shifting consumer tastes and trends. Last fall, Kellogg purchased RXBAR clean-label protein bars for $600 million.

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