Cargill names Brian Sikes as global group’s new president and CEO

Cargill has confirmed that Brian Sikes has been elected as president and CEO of the group from January 2023, having spent a considerable period within senior management roles for the global business, reports Neill Barston.

He will succeed  Dave MacLennan will assume the role of Executive Chair of the company’s Board of Directors, with the company continuing to deliver a wide range of solutions and applications for the confectionery and snacks segments.

As the company noted, Sikes will be the 10th CEO in Cargill’s 157-year history and brings a strong track record of business operational rigour to the role, having grown the company’s global Protein and Salt enterprise into an industry leader.

He currently serves as Cargill’s Chief Operating Officer, where he has been instrumental in constructing the company’s long-term strategy. With broad experience across multiple businesses, cycles and geographies, Sikes held leadership roles in the U.S., Canada and Europe, and served as the head of the company’s Talent Centre of Expertise. He has placed a key focus on people and culture, customers, and has proven expertise in leading growth and transformation of the business.

“I am honoured to succeed Dave as Cargill’s President and CEO,” said Sikes. “Under his visionary leadership, Cargill has a solid foundation, business model and culture that positions us for long-term success. Our 160,000 employees across Cargill are the best in the industry. Together, we will grow with customers, strengthen our core and thoughtfully target new markets to ensure we are a reliable, sustainable partner for our customers –today and in the future,” explained the incoming CEO.

As previously reported, the company recently released key research that has found that two thirds of consumers are now placing sustainable as a core driver of their chocolate purchasing, which has been reflected in the company’s  focus on continuing to make improvements within its supply chains.

“As Cargill continues to navigate dynamic global markets, both operational excellence and a clearly articulated vision driven by purpose and values will define the company’s success, and there is no better person than Brian to lead Cargill,” said MacLennan (pictured below). “He’s a person of action and results, with a relentless passion for serving our customers and our people. Brian has the qualities we value in a strong leader—integrity, empathy, resilience and authenticity. Under his leadership, I am confident the best days for Cargill, and its greatest contributions, lie ahead.”

Sikes is set to take over from MacLennan, who joined the company in 1991 and served in multiple executive roles, including CFO and COO, before becoming the company’s Chairman and CEO in 2013. During his nine years at the company’s helm, MacLennan helped achieve outstanding financial results while feeding millions of families and building community resilience in more than 125 countries worldwide.

His long-term strategic vision and willingness to disrupt are exemplified by his leadership on the largest acquisitions in the company’s history, including Croda (bioindustrials), EWOS (aquaculture), Diamond V (animal nutrition), and Sanderson and Wayne Farms (poultry). In addition, the company built expertise in alternative proteins and has developed technologies and digital solutions to transform farming, supply chains and food delivery during his tenure.

MacLennan is passionate about employee well-being, never compromising worker health and safety for production. He created Cargill’s sustainability office and built a culture that prioritises and celebrates diversity, equity and inclusion. Under his leadership, the company is on a path to achieve gender parity by 2030 and the representation of women on the Executive Team has increased to 46%. In addition, he has been an industry leader in sustainability, particularly around climate change. As the company added, he prioritised action including its RegenConnect initiative, which has advanced regenerative agriculture practices on 158,000 acres of North American farmland, and BeefUp Sustainability, which has reduced 1.7 million metric tons of CO2.

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