Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#409 Whitney MacMillan $4.58B

Random fact: W.W. Cargill, son of Scottish sea captain, started company in 1865.

Overview

MacMillan is the former chief executive officer of Cargill, the largest closely held company in the U.S. The Wayzata, Minnesota-based commodity business had sales of almost $110 billion in the year to May 31, 2017 from the production and trading of agricultural commodities. The billionaire owns 11 percent of the business.

As of July 26, 2017:
Last change No change
YTD change +$195M (+4.5%)
Industry Commodities
Biggest asset Cargill
Citizenship United States
Age 87
Wealth Inherited
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Whitney MacMillan's net worth of $4.58B can buy ...

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of U.S. existing home sales
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Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
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Confidence rating:

MacMillan is a fourth-generation family shareholder of Cargill, the Wayzata, Minnesota-based commodities conglomerate in which he owns an 11 percent stake. Cargill is the largest closely held company in the U.S., according to the Privco 250 list for 2016.

His stake is derived from ownership details disclosed in debt prospectuses, a lawsuit over the taxation of the Cargill family trust in 1972, a corporate history of Cargill by Wayne G. Broehl, and the fact that Margaret Cargill owned 17.5 percent of the company when she died in 2006, according to Bloomberg Markets. Information from these sources indicate the families evenly split shares among bloodline heirs and that disposition of shares by family members has been small. There are 23 family shareholders.

Members of the extended family own 87.2 percent of Cargill, with executives and an employee stock ownership plan owning the rest, according to debt prospectuses detailing share classes and share counts held by the groups. To fulfill Margaret Cargill's bequest of her stake to charity, the company spun off potash and phosphate producer Mosaic to liquidate her stock in 2011, an action that increased each family member's percentage stake in Cargill, based on the reduced shares it reported after the spinoff. Under this formula, MacMillan is credited with about 88 million shares of Cargill's 808 million shares. He's also credited with a portion of Cargill dividends and Mosaic shares sold since 1994.

Cargill had sales of $109.7 billion in the year to May 31, 2017, according to the company's website, and debt of $11.7 billion as of July 2017, according to the data compiled by Bloomberg. It's valued using the average enterprise value-to-Ebitda multiple of two publicly trade peer companies: Archer-Daniels-Midland and Bunge. 

Lisa Clemens, a Cargill spokeswoman, declined to comment on the billionaire's net worth.

Biography

Birthdate: 9/25/1929
Family: Married, 2 children
Education: 1951, Graduated, Yale University

Whitney MacMillan was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1929, the second child of four siblings to Cargill MacMillan Sr. and his wife. He's the great-grandson of William W. Cargill, the founder of Cargill, who started the commodities business with one grain storage warehouse in Conover, Iowa, in 1865.

He graduated from Yale University with a bachelor's degree in history in 1951, and joined Cargill as a general trainee, selling soybean meal in Minneapolis. He was promoted to vice president in 1968, managing the company’s seed and salt division as well as cargo carriers. He was appointed Cargill chairman and chief executive officer in 1977. Under his leadership, Cargill diversified into meat processing, steel, petroleum trading and fertilizer.

MacMillan retired from Cargill in 1995. The Minneapolis resident is married and has two children.

Milestones
  • 1865 Cargill begins in Iowa under the leadership of W.W. Cargill.
  • 1929 Whitney MacMillan is born in Minneapolis, the second child of four siblings.
  • 1951 Graduates from Yale University with a bachelor's degree in history.
  • 1951 Joins Cargill as a general trainee, selling soybean meal in Minneapolis.
  • 1968 Promoted to vice president, managing company’s seed and salt division.
  • 1977 Appointed Cargill CEO and chairman.
  • 1995 Retires as company executive.
  • 2003 Cargill's earnings pass $1 billion for the first time in company history.