TheSt. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Pressreported that France'sSodimadairy, owner of the Yoplait brand, notifiedGeneral Millsthat it intends in 2012 to terminate a license agreement that has given General Mills exclusive U.S. sales rights since 1977. French media report that Sodima may sell the brand and has been interested in renegotiating license terms, thePioneer Presssaid. The paper said General Mills filed a statement last Friday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In it, officials said the company "will vigorously defend and enforce our exclusive right to use the Yoplait mark in the United States."
Spokeswoman Kirstie Foster told the paper, "Sodima may only terminate if General Mills breaches the agreement itself. Sodima, in fact, is not alleging any breach by General Mills."
Separately, General Mills said it promotedJerry Lynchto chief sustainability officer, responsible for global environmental sustainability initiatives. Lynch joined the company in 1995 and served in several marketing and commercial roles. He most recently has served as vice president of applied sustainability. General Mills said Lynch succeeds Gene Kahn, who announced his retirement this month.
“General Mills is committed to protecting natural resources by examining every aspect of our operations, from agriculture to global transportation, for opportunities to reduce our environmental impact,” said Chris Shea, General Mills' executive vice president, external relations. “Jerry’s unique combination of business acumen, sustainability experience and leadership skills will drive the continuous advancement of sustainable business initiatives at General Mills.”