Smits became Sara Lee’s boss in 2011 after two years as the company’s chief financial officer. During his tenure at Sara Lee the company split into two companies, Hillshire Brands, a North American food company that kept Sara Lee as one of its product brands, and DE Master Blenders 1753, a coffee and tea business listed and based in the Netherlands.
Minneapolis-based Cargill, which is one of the world’s largest privately held businesses, markets food, agricultural, financial and industrial products.
Smits fills the role vacated by Sergio Rial, who left Cargill in November 2012 for personal reasons after 16 months in the CFO job.
Netherlands-born Smits has also held positions for Unilever in Europe, Latin America and Asia, and spent time at two Dutch companies – Vendex KBB and KPN.