The Story of Dwayne Andreas, CEO of Archer Daniels Midland
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 A scattershot profile of a wily septuagenarian who seems to have succeeded the late Armand Hammer as the Kremlin's favorite US businessman. New Yorker veteran Kahn (Year of Change, The Problem Solvers, etc.) offers a hit-or-miss rundown on the active life of Dwayne Andreas, who has for 20 years headed Archer Daniels Midland, an unusually profitable multinational enterprise based in Decatur, Ill. With fiscal 1991 revenues approximating $8.5 billion, ADM is America's largest publicly held processor of corn, oil seeds, peanuts, soybeans, wheat, and allied commodities. While virtually all of its output goes to name-brand suppliers, the company is a genuine force in the global grain trade. Thanks to its CEO's prowess as a smooth operator, ADM is a geopolitical power as well. A bipartisan supporter of pro-agriculture candidates for high office in the US, Andreas has a knack for developing close ties to key players in any number of foreign capitals, including Moscow. Indeed, Kahn quotes one observer as wondering ``whether he's more interested in how business can help him in politics or how politics can help him in business.'' Whatever the answer, Andreas is a tireless promoter of soy-based foods, ethanol, and other ADM products with unrealized potential in mass markets. Kahn portrays the globe-trotting corporate chieftain as a benevolently entrepreneurial sort without ever quite coming to grips with what keeps the sometime farm boy on the go well past normal retirement age. Nor does the author succeed in putting ADM's many ventures into individual, let alone collective, perspective. On occasion, the source material's intrinsic values shine through the disorganized text's consistently graceless prose. For the most part, however, a muddled miscellany. (Eight pages of b&w photos-- not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1991
ISBN: 0-446-51495-0
Page count: 336pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1991