Cargill announced Brian Sikes has been elected president and chief executive officer (CEO), effective January 1. With this transition, Dave MacLennan will assume the role of executive chair of Cargill's Board of Directors.
Sikes will succeed 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.
Sikes will be the 10th CEO in Cargill's 157-year history and brings a strong track record of business operational rigor 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 (COO), 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 Center of Expertise. His relentless focus on people and culture, customers, and proven expertise in leading growth and transformation have earned him the trust and respect of Cargill's customers, employees and the board.
"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. "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."
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.
He created Cargill's sustainability office and built a culture that prioritizes 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. He prioritized action, not just making commitments, with programs like RegenConnect, 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.
"I am honored 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."
Cargill's 160,000 employees across 70 countries work relentlessly to achieve our purpose of nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. Every day, we connect farmers with markets, customers with ingredients and people and animals with the food they need to thrive. We combine 157 years of experience with new technologies and insights to serve as a trusted partner for food, agriculture, financial and industrial customers in more than 125 countries. Side-by-side, we are building a stronger, sustainable future for agriculture.