General Mills announced on Wednesday it is shuffling several top leadership positions to better chase the company's fastest-growing markets.

The changes also give existing executives experience in other areas of the Golden Valley-based food company and potentially prepare one to someday succeed Jeff Harmening as chair and chief executive of the company.

"We are making these strategic changes to best position General Mills for today's dynamic landscape," Harmening said in a statement. "These moves enable us to best match our deep bench of senior talent to fast-growing and important consumer areas and occasions."

Jon Nudi, currently the president of North American Retail — by far General Mills' largest business segment — will move to group president of Pet and International, the "two largest growth areas for the company," according to a news release.

Dana McNabb, who has been General Mills' chief strategy and growth officer since 2021, will succeed Nudi as head of North American Retail.

The company's chief financial officer, Kofi Bruce, will lead strategy and growth initiatives while the company conducts an external search for that position.

Ricardo Fernandez, currently head of U.S. Morning Foods, will become president of the International segment. Fernandez will report directly to Nudi and become part of General Mills' senior leadership team

Bethany Quam, current head of the Pet division, becomes president of U.S. Morning Foods and will report directly to McNabb.

The changes will take effect on Jan. 1.

General Mills also announced the planned retirement of Sean Walker, an employee since 1989 who was most recently group president of the International segment. He will leave at the end of February.

It's common for large companies to rotate senior executives around the organization to further develop leadership talent and for the company to have CEO succession plans.

Harmening is just 56 but he's been CEO of General Mills since June of 2017, almost 6.5 years. A recent study by Equilar, an executive intelligence firm, shows that the median tenure of a CEO at an S&P 500 firm has been declining.

Equilar's study showed that the median tenure of a CEO at an S&P 500 firm in 2022 was just 4.8 years, down 20% from 2013 when the median tenure was six years. However the average tenure was 7.2 years, down from 7.6 years in 2013.

After several years of pandemic-boosted growth when consumers stockpiled pantry staples and ate more at home, General Mills has signaled it expects more modest growth in the years ahead.

The company reported a sales increase of 4% in its most recent quarter, reaching $4.9 billion. Profits dropped 18% to $674 million, meanwhile. General Mills' stock price has declined nearly 25% this year.