David Dines has been appointed Cargill Inc.'s new chief financial officer and Marcel Smits, who currently fills that role, will step into a new position leading the company's operations in Asia.
The changes, announced Tuesday, are part of one of the largest makeovers in the top offices at Cargill since David MacLennan became chief executive in late 2013.
Cargill also announced a new general counsel and chief compliance officer, Anna Richo, after the company's top lawyer, Laura Witte, retired in May following 33 years at the business. Most recently, Richo was executive vice president and general counsel of UCB, a multinational biopharmaceutical company based in Belgium.
Dines and Smits will assume the new positions Dec. 1 and Richo will join the company in January.
Dines currently heads metals and shipping, but is perhaps best known for helping create and grow Cargill's risk-management business. The company's risk-management division offers price risk solutions for agriculture, energy and metals. Last year, it was dinged with a $10 million penalty by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission for concealing the full value of certain swap trades.
Smits, who has served as CFO since 2013, will be head of corporate strategy and chairman of Cargill's Asia Pacific businesses. Peter Van Deursen, the current chief executive of Asia Pacific, will move into the lead position for Cargill's global starches and sweeteners business.
In 2015, MacLennan restructured Cargill into five enterprises and designed its executive team to match that structure. Since then, he and Smits spearheaded moves aimed at cutting costs and improving efficiencies. This has led to major divestitures, including some in the pork business, and acquisitions, highlighted by aquaculture.
"We've undertaken significant changes over the past three years to build a more agile and integrated Cargill to serve customers' rapidly evolving needs. The world does not stand still, and neither will we," MacLennan said in a statement Tuesday. "The changes announced today augment the strength and expertise needed to fuel Cargill's growth, with a focus on integrating operations, increasing financial discipline and accelerating investments in markets of highest potential."
Cargill is one of the largest conglomerates controlling the movement of agriculture products around the globe. Last week, the company unveiled a joint effort with the three other largest players in global food, Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM), Bunge Limited and Louis Dreyfus Co., to modernize the global grain and oilseed shipping industry with digital instead of paper records.
Technology is changing everything about food, agriculture and trading, from farmers accessing real-time market data, to robotics, to blockchain allowing consumers to trace where their food originated. Cargill recently partnered with Descartes Labs, a New Mexico startup company, to apply artificial intelligence to satellite imagery in a way that can predict crop harvests and ultimately better forecast that season's yield.
On Monday, Cargill announced a new technology joint venture, called Grainbridge LLC, with Chicago-based rival ADM. Grainbridge will operate a digital platform, giving North American farmers free access to the companies' consolidated production economics and grain marketing data.
"It's our intent to continue transforming Cargill to match what our customers need to win in a fast-changing world," Cargill said.
In the Asia Pacific region, Cargill has opened a number of plants recently, including a $28 million animal feed mill in Vietnam just last week and a new aquaculture innovation center in Indonesia in August.