Billionaire heir to Cargill fortune dies in Calif.

Published 9:12 am Wednesday, November 16, 2011

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Cargill MacMillan Jr., the multibillionaire heir to the Cargill Inc. agribusiness fortune, has died in Southern California, his family said Tuesday. He was 84.

MacMillan died of complications of Parkinson’s disease Monday at his home in Indian Wells, his family said in a statement issued through a company spokeswoman.

MacMillan was worth an estimated $2.6 billion based on his share in the family company, according to Forbes magazine, which placed him and other relatives on its list of the 400 richest Americans.

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The family, which has a reputation for secrecy, holds 88 percent of Cargill. The Minnesota-based conglomerate, founded in 1865, has international interests that range from cocoa plantations to livestock and steel mills to commodities trading.

It is the largest private company in the world, with nearly $119.5 billion in revenue and 138,000 employees in 63 countries.

Cargill made headlines earlier this year when it recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey following back-to-back salmonella incidents that were linked to one death and 129 illnesses across the country. The company also reported its fiscal first-quarter earnings fell 66 percent amid a volatile global grain market.

While MacMillan was a board member for more than 30 years and once chaired its finance committee, he had no day-to-day role in the company.

Born in Minneapolis and raised in Wayzata, Minn., MacMillan served in the Air Force before graduating from Yale in 1950.

MacMillan and his wife, Donna, moved from Minnesota to Indian Wells in 1990 to pursue their love of art and philanthropy, donating a $20 million collection to the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Desert Sun newspaper ( reported.

He is survived by his wife and four children.