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.
When General Mills acquired Gorton’s, Kinney joined the company and led its consumer food operations and eventually rose through the ranks to become CEO. General Mills, based in Minneapolis, said its sales under Kinney’s leadership grew from $1 billion to $5 billion, and the number of employees grew from 26,000 to 71,000.
General Mills sold Gorton’s in 1995, but the brand remains a popular food choice thanks to Kinney’s innovation.
“During his tenure with Gorton’s he was credited with leading the company through a period of significant growth. While I wouldn’t say he invented the fish stick, he certainly led Gorton’s during a period of time when the fish stick became an established convenience food for consumers in the U.S.,” said Paul Coz, vice president of human resources Gorton’s Seafoods.
Kinney grew up in Pittsfield, Maine, graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and started a canning business called North Atlantic Packing Co. that grew out of his experience seeing lobster fishermen discarding crabs. He offered the fishermen a penny for each crab and started a canning business.
“Bob Kinney was a transformational leader for General Mills who had a tremendous impact on our company,” said Ken Powell, the company’s current chairman and CEO. “Not only was he successful in business, but also, more importantly, he was both respected and loved by colleagues and peers.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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