MINNEAPOLIS – Marcel Smits, previously chief executive officer of Sara Lee Corp., has been named chief financial officer for Cargill, effective April 15, Minneapolis-based Cargill said April 1.

“Marcel Smits is a terrific addition to the Cargill leadership team,” said Greg Page, chairman and chief executive officer of Cargill. “His global experience in financial management and the food industry will be a tremendous asset to the company.”

Mr. Smits became c.f.o. for Sara Lee in 2009 and c.e.o. in 2011. During his tenure at Sara Lee the company split into two separate companies. Hillshire Brands, based in North America, is a food company that still owns Lee brands. D.E. Master Blenders 1753 is an international coffee and tea business based in The Netherlands.

Mr. Smits, a native of The Netherlands and a certified public accountant, received a master’s degree in business administration and tax law from the University of Amsterdam. He held financial management positions with Unilever in the 1980s and 1990s. He also was c.f.o. for both Vendex KBB, which is a Dutch retail group, and for KPN, a telecommunications service provider in The Netherlands.

At Cargill, Mr. Smits will replace David MacLennan. Also Cargill’s president and chief operating officer, Mr. MacLennan was named interim c.f.o. in November 2012 when Sergio Rial left Cargill and returned to his native Brazil.