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MLA Places Karen Wilson Thissen as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of General Mills

Hanover, MD (May 12, 2022) — Major, Lindsey & Africa (MLA), the world’s leading legal search firm, today announced the placement of Karen Wilson Thissen as general counsel and corporate secretary of General Mills in Minneapolis. The search was conducted by Deborah Ben-Canaan, partner and senior practice leader in Washington, D.C., and Heather Fine, partner in Chicago, both with MLA’s In-House Counsel Recruiting group.

Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, General Mills has more than 150 years of making food with passion. The company is home to more than 100 food brands—including include Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Nature Valley, Yoplait, Cheerios, Blue Buffalo, Old El Paso, and Häagen Dazs—and is one of the largest food companies in the United States. It operates globally across Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and North America. General Mills exists to make food the world loves.

Reporting to the Chairman of the Board and CEO Jeff Harmening, Karen will serve as a member of the senior leadership team and be responsible for leading and managing all legal affairs of the company, including the global legal function, ethics and compliance, government affairs, and global security. She will also serve as secretary of the board, partnering closely with the CEO on all governance matters.

“After a comprehensive national search, the match here was very clear.  Karen brings extensive experience at a large public company, excellent business acumen, deep leadership experience, and strong personal attributes, and we could not be more excited for her and General Mills,” shared Deborah Ben-Canaan.  “Karen will no doubt be a significant asset as the company continues on its growth trajectory. She is a star, and we are thrilled about this partnership," Heather Fine commented.

Karen most recently served as general counsel and executive vice president for Ameriprise Financial, Inc. In 2004, Karen moved in-house to handle complex litigation at Ameriprise Financial, which at the time was part of American Express. Ameriprise Financial later spun off, and she began her 17-year journey with the company serving in a variety of roles before being named general counsel in 2017. Karen began her legal career at Faegre & Benson in the business litigation group. She was named partner there and remained at the firm for 11 years. Karen holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a law degree from the University of Chicago.

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