«Transparency expectations from the world is a big challenge for Cargill. People want to know what’s in their food, where did it come from.» David MacLennan, Cargill

About MacLennan: MacLennan started on Dec. 1 as the ninth chief exective of Cargill, which dates back to 1865 and today is one of the world’s largest private corporations. He started at Cargill in its financial services division in 1991, rising up in its ranks until 2000, when he left for a short stint at Piper Jaffray. Cargill rehired him in 2002; he became chief financial officer in 2008 and chief operating officer in 2011.

Personal file: Born in Boston and raised mostly in Chicago and the Twin Cities, he has a bachelor’s degree in English from Amherst College and an MBA from the University of Chicago. MacLennan started his career as a runner on the Chicago Board of Trade.

What’s big in 2014: Cargill is expanding its already huge plant in Thailand and building an integrated chicken plant — from baby chicks to drumsticks — in China. The new plant in China will supply chicken to Cargill’s large restaurant customers, and is aimed at alleviating the safety issues that often plague the nation’s domestic food suppliers.

Final word: “China is one of the biggest opportunties in terms of expansion for Cargill. … We are building that facility partly to bring modernized farming and processing techniques to the meat industry.”