- Jamie Miller is departing from the top finance seat of agribusiness giant Cargill after just 18 months in the role to “pursue other opportunities”, effective Jan. 13, the company announced Monday. Joanne Knight, current vice president of finance, will step in as an interim CFO until a permanent replacement is found, the release said.
- The Minnetonka, Minn.-based company is juggling several other executive leadership changes as well, with Brian Sikes’s promotion from chief operating officer to CEO on Jan. 1. Dave MacLennan, the former CEO, stepped into the role of executive chair.
- The CFO transition happens against the backdrop of criticism of Cargill relating to its involvement in the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, despite pledging to have their agriculture supply chains free of deforestation by 2030.
Before joining Cargill as the company’s first ever female CFO in June of 2022, Miller was the finance chief at General Mills Inc., the packaged-food company, for 12 years, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Sikes, the newly appointed CEO, has big shoes to fill — his predecessor served as the top executive of the privately held global food corporation since 1991.
“We are grateful for Jamie’s service to Cargill,” said Sikes in a statement. “Over the last few years, we have further strengthened our business model, expanded our business portfolio, and are well-positioned for long-term success,” he said.
Knight, the interim CFO, is moving up from her current position as vice president of finance and Sikes said she has a “strong track record of leadership and operating results and is well-equipped to take the role of acting CFO.”
The company, which is privately held, recorded $165 billion in revenue for 2022, a 23% increase from a year ago, according to their 2022 annual report.
Agricultural companies were able to reap big gains this past year as the war in Ukraine tightened the global supply of crops, but consumers’ demand for food remained strong despite high prices. Prices of wheat and corn, for example, rose after Russia’s invasion into Ukraine — one of the world’s top grain exporting regions, according to reporting from the Wall Street Journal.
Although these geopolitical and supply chain crunch issues provided some benefits to Cargill, the company has also been subject to pushback from environmentalists. Unearthed — an award winning project launched by investigative journalists — and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed in April 2022 that the company had been buying soya and corn from a farm linked to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, despite pledging to clean up its global supply chains, according to the reporting.
The Minnetonka, Minn.-based company responded by saying, “We are committed to eliminating deforestation from our supply chains in the shortest possible time, and we are accelerating our efforts … If fire has been used and has impacted the native forest or any irregularity is confirmed, we will take the appropriate measures.”