Dwayne Andreas, the farmer's son and college dropout who turned the grain-processing company Archer Daniels Midland into "the supermarket to the world," then saw it rocked by a price-fixing scandal, has died. He was 98.
Andreas, who became CEO of ADM in 1970, stepped down in 1997, the year after the company pleaded guilty to price fixing charges and agreed to pay $100 million in fines. The scandal also sent three men, including his only son, to prison. Andreas left the chairman of the board post in 1999.
Andreas' son, Michael; Terrance Wilson, retired president of ADM's corn-growing division; and Mark Whitacre, a former executive-turned FBI whistleblower, were found guilty of plotting with foreign competitors to fix the price and worldwide sales volumes of lysine.
The price-fixing scheme was recounted in Kurt Eichenwald's 2000 best-seller "The Informant" and was turned into a 2009 film starring Matt Damon. The left-leaning Mother Jones magazine once declared that "Dwayne Orville Andreas runs the world." The conservative National Review called him a "modern robber baron." The libertarian Cato Institute labeled him the United States' "most prominent recipient of corporate welfare."
Andreas was born in 1918 near Worthington, Minnesota, to Mennonite farmers Reuben and Lydia Andreas. He dropped out of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, to help his father and older brothers take over a bankrupt grain and feed business in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The company, Honeymead, prospered, and in 1945 the family sold most of its assets to Cargill, a Minneapolis commodities firm that's now one of ADM's biggest competitors.
In 1965, the family bought 100,000 shares in what was then Minneapolis-based Archer Daniels Midland. Dwayne Andreas became a director in 1966. Three years later, he moved the company's headquarters to Decatur.more » « less