Salzburg Global Mourns the Death of Whitney MacMillan

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Mar 20, 2020
by Salzburg Global Seminar
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Salzburg Global Mourns the Death of Whitney MacMillan

Former Board Member and friend of Salzburg Global Seminar dies aged 90 Whitney MacMillan

Whitney MacMillan, a former Salzburg Global Board Member, Senior Fellow, and friend of the organization, died on March 11, 2020, aged 90, in Vero Beach, Florida. 

MacMillan, the last member of the Cargill-MacMillan family to serve as CEO of Cargill, had a 44-year career with Cargill and is considered one of the organization’s most important leaders. He started as a general trainee but rose to the top to become chairman of the board and CEO from 1976 until his retirement in 1995.

David MacLennan, the current chairman and chief executive officer of Cargill, said, “While Cargill helps the world to thrive, Whitney helped Cargill thrive.” In a Wall Street Journal obituary, Jacob Bunge writes, “Whitney MacMillan, relying on pragmatism and endless curiosity about how the world feeds itself, transformed Cargill Inc. from a North American grain trader into a global food colossus.”

MacMillan first joined Salzburg Global’s Board of Directors in January 1992 and served in this role until the end of 1995. He attended his first Salzburg Global program the following year in July, serving as a faculty member for Sustainable Agriculture. He joined the Board of Directors for two additional terms, the second taking place between 1997 and 2000, and the third lasting between 2002 and 2004. After his final stint on the board, he received Senior Fellow status.

In 1998, MacMillan and his wife, Betty, established the Elizabeth S. MacMillan Fellowship Fund. Over three decades, the endowed Fund has enabled more than 120 Fellows from more than 50 countries to participate in Salzburg Global’s programs, especially supporting women from developing countries.

Salzburg Global president Stephen Salyer said, “Whitney and his wife Elizabeth have been true friends to Salzburg Global.  Their support helped rising leaders, especially younger women, from Africa and South Asia, develop skills and global networks. I will never forget their kindness to me when I joined the Seminar, and their eagerness to introduce the Seminar’s work to people and institutions in Minnesota. Their legacy lives on through the scholarship endowment they established in 1998.”

MacMillan is survived by his wife Betty, their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Pauline.