Kellogg CFO to Step Down After Two Years

CFO Fareed Kahn's replacement, Amit Banati, is the head of the consumer product group's Asia, Middle East, and Africa business.

On the day Kellogg reported a first-quarter earnings drop of 37%, it also announced that CFO Fareed Kahn was stepping down as chief financial officer. The Battle Creek, Michigan-based foods company said only that Kahn was “leaving” the company and would stay on until July 1 to transition the new CFO.

Kellogg’s new CFO will be Amit Banati, who currently heads the company’s Asia Pacific, Africa, and Middle East business.

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Steve Cahillane, Kellogg chairman and chief executive officer, called Banati an outstanding executive. “With his strategic vision, operational discipline, and financial acumen, Amit has been a driving force behind the transformation of our business in AMEA,” Cahillane said. “This region is on a path to more than double in size, in both net sales and operating profit, since Amit became its president, and it has demonstrated the kind of balanced top-line and bottom-line growth we strive for as a company.”

Fareed Kahn

Despite the impressive performance in AMEA, Kellogg on Thursday reported net income of $282 million, or 82 cents per share, for the quarter ended March 30, down from $444 million, or $1.27 per share, a year earlier.

Kellogg said first-quarter earnings were hurt by a strong U.S. dollar and by higher spending on divestitures, transportation, and commodities.

The company’s net sales rose 3.6% to $3.6 billion, but sales in North America, Kellogg’s largest unit, fell 1.8%.

A recall of “certain RXBARs required inventory write-offs at our customers, pressuring net sales and profit,” Cahillane said on the earnings call.

CFO Khan joined Kellogg in February 2017, after stints as a management consultant at McKinsey and as CFO at US Foods and United Stationers. “He has been a trusted partner in creating and implementing our Deploy For Growth strategy, aimed at returning the company to sustainable, profitable growth,” Cahillane said.

Banati joined Kellogg in March 2012, having worked previously at Procter & Gamble, Cadbury Schweppes, Kraft Foods, and Mondelez.

The company expects a smooth transition in the CFO office, noting that Banati has been a member of Kellogg’s executive committee for seven years.

Kellogg shares were down 3% at 12:30 p.m.