Archer Daniels Midland
Decatur, Illinois-based Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is one of the world's largest agricultural conglomerates. Its business is primarily structured around the processing and trading of oilseeds (e.g. soy, palm), corn, wheat and cocoa. ADM is also a leading manufacturer of protein meal, corn sweeteners, flour, ethanol and vegetable oil. The company has an extensive grain elevator and transportation network, which it uses to collect, store, clean, process and transport agricultural commodities.
In 1996 ADM pled guilty and paid a record $100 million fine for price-fixing in the lysine market -- a famous case that was the basis for the 2009 movie "The Informant". The massive wave of adverse publicity and related lawsuits that resulted from the charges ultimately ended the reign of CEO and Chairman Dwayne Andreas (who was never charged with a crime) and his son Michael (who went to jail).
CorpWatch and Crocodyl.org have created a case study of the ADM price-fixing scandal depicted in the movie, called "The Story Behind The Informant!".
Over a decade later, ADM remains one of the largest manufacturers of sweeteners and other food processing ingredients, as well as a leading producer of ethanol and other biofuels. Although the Andreas family and its allies no longer control the company, ADM's board is notably lacking any independent directors.