Archer Daniels Midland Co. to add outside board directors


DECATUR, Ill. -- Archer Daniels Midland Co. said it will add more outside directors to its board, three months after about 20 percent of its shareholders withheld their votes from the company's slate.

The grain processor, under fire for antitrust allegations and insider domination of its board, said the appointment of new directors at the next annual meeting follows the major recommendation of a corporate governance committee.

The company also said "several" of its 17 directors wouldn't seek re-election and that it added more outsiders to its board committees. The moves fall short of what many investors expected. "They haven't taken even half-measures," said Ed Durkin, director of special projects for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters union.

Archer Daniels formed the governance committee in October at a contentious annual meeting, and accepted its report at a board meeting yesterday.

Archer Daniels shares fell 25 cents to $17 yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange.

"While it might appear cosmetic, some of these board changes have to be viewed in a reasonably positive light," said John McMillin, an analyst with Prudential Securities Research.

Of the current 17 directors, four are chief executive Dwayne Andreas and members of his family. Of the rest, two are lawyers who do work for the company, three are company executives, two are retired executives and two are relatives of current executives. Four have little apparent tie to the company beside their directorships.

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