Last week Morningstar, the independent investment research firm, named Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf its CEO of the Year.

Morningstar introduced its award in January 2000. The other two nominees for Morningstar’s 2015 award were Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric Co.

Stumpf is one of us. Born in Pierz, Minn., he graduated from St. Cloud State University and got his MBA from the University of Minnesota.

In 1982, he joined Northwestern National Bank, which eventually became Norwest Corp. In 1998, Minneapolis-based Norwest merged with San Francisco-based Wells Fargo.

In 2007, Stumpf was promoted to CEO of Wells Fargo, and he’s led the company through the financial crisis, the Great Recession and the 2008 deal to acquire Wachovia for $15.1 billion.

In the news release announcing the award, Morningstar said Stumpf “guided the bank through a difficult period in the industry and shunned activities that put profits ahead of customers, building up strength while many of its peers languished.”

The report on the award said: “While other bank CEOs spent billions to acquire nothing but other banks’ financial and legal liabilities, Stumpf saw the value in Wachovia’s deposit base and branches, doubling Wells Fargo’s footprint at a reasonable price.”

Investment firm puts ‘hold’ rating on General Mills’ stock

Seensco, an investment research firm based in Canada, defines its buy/sell formula of rating stocks pretty clearly. Ratings, the company says, are based on a fair value estimation and a long-term rate of return estimation.

If analysts think a company’s stock will grow less than 2 percent, the firm issues a “sell.” A “reduce” rating is issued if they believe a company will grow between 2 and 4 percent. A “buy” rating means growth faster than 10 percent.

Last week, Seensco issued a research report on General Mills Inc., the Golden Valley-based packaged food company. Seensco gave the company a “hold” rating for its long-term rate of return and a “reduce” rating for its fair value estimation. Overall, Mills received a “hold” rating.

“While we estimate that [General Mills’] fair value at this point in time is $61.18, over the long term we project that GIS’ stock will compound at an annual rate of return of approximately 5.6%,” Seensco’s report said.

“This projection is derived by taking into account the expected earnings power of the company, an estimated stream of dividend payments, as well as the market’s sentiment towards the company’s stock.”