PHOENIX (AP) — E. Robert Kinney, a former chief executive of General Mills who earlier in his career was instrumental in popularizing fish sticks, has died. He was 96.
A statement from General Mills said Kinney died last week in Arizona.
Kinney was a food company executive for most of his career, including a successful stint in leading Gorton’s of Gloucester — a brand that became a mainstay in the frozen food aisle of the grocery store for generations. The company’s success in the fish stick business prompted General Mills Inc. to acquire Gorton’s in 1968.
Kinney served as president and chairman of General Mills from 1977 to 1981, leading the company during a time of rapid growth that included acquisition of licensing rights to Yoplait yogurt.
“Bob Kinney was a remarkable human being, a great guy with rock-ribbed New England integrity,” said H. Brewster “Bruce” Atwater Jr., who succeeded Kinney as General Mills’ CEO and praised him as a great leader of a high-performing company.