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Cargill family business heir dies

By Giulia Cambieri

Cargill MacMillan Jr, the billionaire heir to the Cargill family fortune, died on 14 November at his home in Indian Wells, California, at the age of 84.

The great-grandson of the founder of the eponymous company, which is today the world’s largest agricultural commodities trader, MacMillian began at the family business in 1950 as a trainee. He later held various positions across the group’s offices before moving to California.

MacMillan, who was a board member of the Minnesota-based company for the last 30 years, is often credited with being the visionary for the Cargill Office Center, the main headquarters designed to consolidate the group's operations. But he also had a long career before joining the family business. He served in the US Air Force before graduating from Yale University in 1950.

Well-known for his love of arts, his financial support for the Palm Springs Art Museum resulted in a wing of the art gallery being named after him in 2009.

While the extended Cargill and MacMillan family owns 88% of Cargill, MacMillan controlled around one-ninth of the family share, making him one of the richest Americans, according to Forbes.

MacMillan’s brother Whitney was the last member of the family to serve as the group chief executive and stepped down in 1995. The company, which in 2010 had revenues of $119.5 billion (€88.8 billion), was founded by William Wallace Cargill in 1865, and has remained privately owned since.

Today, Cargill employs around 130,000 people in more than 60 countries.