Cargill will slim down its leadership team, the most sweeping structural change in its senior management in about 15 years.
The Minnetonka-based agribusiness colossus Tuesday said it will drop its current setup — two separate corporate leadership teams with nearly 30 people combined — to a single 10-person group led by CEO David MacLennan. The recasting, which comes two years after MacLennan became CEO, is aimed at streamlining Cargill.
“This change is aimed at simplifying our leadership structure and increasing the speed of decisionmaking — agility being critical in today’s fast-moving world,” MacLennan said in a press statement. The changes go into effect Dec. 1.
Mark Klein, a Cargill spokesman, said the restructuring doesn’t involve layoffs. “We have not set any kind of target for reduction of our employees.”
Cargill employs 155,000 globally, including at least 5,000 in Minnesota, mostly in the Twin Cities. The company, one of the world’s largest privately held corporations, is involved in everything from grain trading to meat processing and chocolate making.
The latest move eliminates the company’s Cargill Leadership Team, which usually consists of four to five of its highest-ranking executives and its CEO. The company also is dismantling a second-tier corporate leadership team made up of about two dozen executives.
In its place will be a leadership team made up of the CEO, heads of Cargill’s five major business groups and the leaders of four functional operations: finance, human resources, business services and business operations and supply chain.
Two executives now on the Cargill Leadership Team — meat and salt business leader Todd Hall and Chief Financial Officer Marcel Smits — will be on the new 10-member leadership team. Last week, two other existing members of the team, longtime executives Paul Conway and Emery Koenig, announced they are retiring within the next few months. Both Conway and Koenig played a role in planning the new leadership structure and strongly support it, Cargill said in a statement.
The other seven members of MacLennan’s 10-member team will essentially come from the existing second corporate leadership group. Executives in the group of about 24 who are not named to the 10-member team will retain many of the same roles that they have now, Klein said.
Cargill’s new senior management structure looks more like that of a publicly traded company. So does the 150-year-old firm — still largely owned by the descendants of its founding Cargill and MacMillan families — have any plans to go public?
“No,” Klein said. “The families have been pleased with how the company is being run. There is not pressure [to go public].”
Nonetheless, Cargill’s leadership team is sailing in turbulent seas these days. Its first fiscal quarter, while profitable to the tune of $512 million, was so-so. In its most recent full fiscal year, Cargill’s net earnings were down 13 percent from a year earlier, and MacLennan acknowledged the company didn’t meet its own expectations.
Cargill’s new 10-member leadership team, aside from MacLennan, Smits and Hall, will include: G.J. van den Akker, grain origination and trading; Frank van Lierde, food ingredients; Joe Stone, animal feed; David Dines, energy, ocean transportation, metals trading and risk management services; LeighAnne Baker, human resources; Kathy Fortmann, business services; and Ruth Kimmelshue, business operations and supply chain.