General Mills swings and misses

Corporate sponsorship of a PGA Tour golf tournament typically comes with a slough of perks for executives of the company shelling out the money to have its name attached to the event. Particularly for title sponsors.

This week’s Tour stop is the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach on the Monterey Peninsula, and Nature Valley’s parent company is General Mills.

General Mills, which just announced results from a terrible quarter in which profits plunged.

General Mills, which then said it would enact a cost-cutting plan to save $100 million a year.

General Mills, which then announced a day later that part of that plan would be the almost certain closure by the end of next year of its plant in Lodi that employs 430 and has been in operation since 1948.

The First Tee is a worthy cause. It’s the PGA Tour’s nationwide organization that funds youth programs and event to give more kids, particularly in urban areas, the chance to play golf. There is a local chapter, the First Tee of San Joaquin.

And Nature Valley is under contract to be the title sponsor of the event.

But in the wake of such grim news for the company and the workers who are likely to lose their jobs, General Mills’ decision to fly a group of executives – a company spokeswoman confirmed execs are at the tournament – to Pebble Beach for luxury wining and dining, with a dose of golf and back-slapping, is a misguided decision.

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