Business 100 - 2012

OLeary Chris

Christopher D. O’Leary/General Mills

Christopher D. O’Leary is executive vice president and COO International at General Mills. Chris spent 17 years at PepsiCo, Inc. before joining General Mills in 1997 as vice president, Corporate Growth. In 1999, he was elected a General Mills senior vice president and named president of the Betty Crocker Division. He then held the position of president of the Meals Division from 2001 to 2006, and was assigned to his current role in June 2006.

Chris is a director of TDS Telecom Inc., and co-chairman of the World Economic Forum Consumer Steering Board Committee.

Chris, who received his BA in marketing from Pace University and his MBA from New York University, is a second-generation Irish American on his father’s side, with family from Co. Leitrim. He describes his Irish heritage as very important and says it keeps the memory of his father close. “While born in N.Y., my father lived in Ireland from ages 3 to 12. He was very proud to be Irish, and holding onto my Irish heritage keeps me close to him as he is no longer of this world.”

Chris and his wife, Julie, have four children, Kevin, John Patrick, Lexi and Joe, and reside in Edina, Minnesota.