Broad business and geographic experience differentiate staffing

by Emily Wilson
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Hardly anything differentiates the flour milling operations of Cargill, Inc. from most of its competitors more than the broad range of backgrounds of its executives. Unlike most senior flour milling executives — and there are certainly other exceptions — who have spent all of their careers in flour milling, the top executives at Cargill not only have had extremely varied business experiences, but also have had the opportunity to learn about business operations well beyond the United States.

In a recent interview at the Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., headquarters of Cargill, Inc. with John Geisler, former head of worldwide dry milling and now a leader of North American and European food ingredients and food applications, and Guy Shoemaker, president of North American Flour Milling, the diversity of these backgrounds became apparent.

Mr. Geisler came to his flour milling responsibilities in early 1997 in the wake of three years as country manager for Cargill in Thailand, where he focused on building an entity with interests ranging from feed manufacturing to poultry production and where he sought to explore ways of developing grain markets for the group in Southeast Asia.

A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, and a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Mr. Geisler joined Cargill in 1978 immediately after graduation. He had a broad range of responsibilities in grain merchandising and other parts of the business before his assignment to Thailand. In January 1997 he was named president of worldwide flour milling and in May 1998 he became president of worldwide dry milling.

In his newest position with the North American and European food ingredient businesses, Mr. Geisler will still be involved with flour milling, but will also be involved with other food ingredient businesses and some technical advances covered by food applications.

Mr. Shoemaker has an equally diverse background. A native of Kansas City, Missouri, U.S., he graduated from Central Missouri State University in 1974 with an accounting degree, and went to work for Tabor Milling Co., a division of Archer Daniels Midland Co. He then held accounting positions with C-G-F Grain Co. in Topeka, Kansas, and Seaboard Corp., Merriam, Kansas.

In the fall of 1980, Cargill acquired Seaboard's flour milling business, and Mr. Shoemaker in the ensuing decade held positions in Kansas City; Minneapolis; Saginaw, Texas; and Albany, New York, ranging from millfeed trading to spring wheat merchandising, managing a group of mills from Wichita and heading the southwestern grain division. From there he went to Albany, Georgia, to become commercial manager of Cargill's broiler operations.

It was in 1996 that Mr. Shoemaker came to the milling headquarters in Minneapolis as general manager of U.S. flour milling. In 1998 he was named to his present post as president of North American Flour Milling.