Cargill streamlines executive board after Black River spin-out

The American agri giant, which is about to spin out asset management arm Black River, says a single executive team of 10 will speed up decision-making at the top of the company.

Cargill is scrapping its two-tiered executive structure, but says it has no plans to cut jobs in the rest of the global agribusiness and food corporation.

Chairman and chief executive officer Dave MacLennan has said he will lead a slimmed-down board of 10 executives from the beginning of December.

MacLennan said the new structure, with leaders for each of Cargill’s main business units – agricultural supply chain, animal nutrition, animal protein, food ingredients, and energy, transportation and metals – will enable faster, more efficient decision-making.

“This change is aimed at simplifying our leadership structure and increasing the speed of decision making,” he said in a company statement, adding that agility was “critical in today’s fast moving world”.

Four other executives will lead the general business operations and supply chain, finance, human resources and business services divisions.

The news comes after Reuters reported last week that the Minnesota-based company could cut as many as 4,000 jobs due to falling commodity prices, fragilities in developing markets and falling demand in China.

Agri Investor reported in September that Black River, Cargill’s fund management arm, would spin off from the company to concentrate on an emerging markets credit fund, private equity and a fixed income relative value fund. The Wall Street Journal also said that Cargill would take on two of Black River’s commodities funds focused on energy and agriculture.

Separately, MacLennan said that vice-chairmen Paul Conway and Emery Koenig will retire from Cargill at the end of December and beginning of February.

The firm raised $587 million for its second agriculture fund targeting Australia and Latin America, which closed last year. That fund included a €50 million to €100 million commitment from Dutch pension PGGM.