David and Tom Gardner recently interviewed
TMF: Mr. Gutierrez, what are you working toward that is greater than your career?
Gutierrez: The continuity of this great institution, making this a more diverse company, creating value for owners, making it a stable, long-term investment. Things that make us stand out, becoming the best food company in the world is something that I talk about often. That sounds a little bit "so what," but it makes coming to work from 9 to 5 a little bit more exciting if you feel like you are contributing to a bigger cause.
TMF: Now, if our math is right on the part of our crack research radio staff, you have been with Kellogg about 28 years. What do you know now about the world of business that you wish you knew when you first started?
Gutierrez: The one thing I wish I knew when I started is that it is all about people, and I think that at one point in my career I thought that it was all about the technicalities. Obviously at some stage in your career it isn't about the technicalities, but in the end it comes down to picking the right people, managing the right people, motivating the right people. It took me a while to work into that. I wish I would have known that on my first day.
TMF: We close with our game, the title of which is "Buy, Sell, or Hold." Mr. Gutierrez, we present you with something going on in society and we ask you if it were a stock, would you be buying, selling, or holding going forward and one sentence as to why.
Gutierrez: All right, shoot.
TMF: We will begin with buy, sell, or hold labor unions.
Gutierrez: Oh my goodness. I would say hold.
TMF: And why?
Gutierrez: Because there has been quite an impact of all the misdeeds from some companies that we all know about and I think that, unfortunately, there is a sense that people need protection from all companies, even though we know that it is just a handful of companies that did the misdeed. But I do believe that there is a sense that perhaps the unions can protect others. So, I wouldn't necessarily put a buy on it, but I wouldn't discard it and put a sell, either.
TMF: Next one up, it is a way of life for me anyway, sadly. Buy, sell, or hold skipping breakfast?
Gutierrez: Oh gosh, sell. Skipping breakfast is the worst thing you can do. I have got 28 years of experience of that. One thing I do religiously is eat breakfast in the morning. We have studies that show that people who eat breakfast have higher performance during the day than people who don't. People who eat breakfast actually have a lower body mass index so they are less obese than people who don't. We have done studies with kids. Kids who eat a cereal breakfast have higher grades at school. So, no, there are a lot of other things that you can do, but don't skip breakfast.
TMF: What is your cereal brand of choice?
Gutierrez: You know, what I do is I tend to go and focus on one for about two or three months. I combine cereals. Right now, I am eating Frosted Mini Wheats and Raisin Bran. I combine them together. We launched a great new cereal called Smorz. It is sort of a kid's cereal, but I love them all.
TMF: Wait, does that have like Hershey's chocolate and marshmallows?
Gutierrez: It is not Hershey's, but it is like a chocolate piece, a chocolate square with some marshmallows.
TMF: This is a breakfast?
Gutierrez: Yes, and it is a wonderful breakfast. It is very tasty. It has vitamins. You eat it with milk. Low in fat. Yes, I love it, I love it.
TMF: I need to stop skipping breakfast. Next one up, a reality television show featuring the Keebler Elves. Buy, sell, or hold?
TMF: Wow. What would be happening on that program?
Gutierrez: Well, I think a lot of fun stuff. Because elves have all different ages and personalities, I think you would find that a lot of different things would be going on for audiences of all ages. So I think it would be a real winner.
TMF: Finally, something that a lot of people love doing, and we put this same question to the CEO of your competitor, buy, sell, or hold drinking the milk directly from your bowl once you have finished your cereal?
TMF: And why?
Gutierrez: Well, it just sort of tops it all off. It has some of the cereal left. It has the flavor from the cereal. It has a little bit of the sugar. It is a wonderful, wonderful tasting last sip of milk. I would just not do it in public because it is one of those things that you do at home typically, but I highly recommend it.
TMF: Kellogg CEO Carlos Gutierrez joined us from Kellogg's corporate headquarters in Battle Creek, Mich. Carlos Gutierrez, good luck, and thanks for joining us on The Motley Fool Radio Show.
Gutierrez: Tom and Dave, thank you and I appreciate your interest in our company. Thank you.