DECATUR, ILL. — Archer Daniels Midland Co. recently made several management appointments that Juan Luciano, executive vice-president and chief operating officer, said are “consistent with our commitment to improve returns.”

“We are assigning leaders to build productivity and earnings power in key areas of opportunity,” Mr. Luciano said.

Joseph Taets, senior vice-president and president of the Agricultural Services business unit, will take on additional responsibility for strategy and growth activity across ADM’s business lines in Europe, Africa and India. He will relocate to the company’s European headquarters in Rolle, Switzerland.

“With the pending acquisition of GrainCorp, and the recent growth of our crop origination and processing assets in Eastern Europe, embedding senior leadership in the region will assure we fully leverage the earnings power of our growing network,” Mr. Luciano said. “Joe is ideally suited for this position, with his current responsibilities for crop origination and transportation activity in more than 75 countries, combined with his previous experience managing ADM’s European oilseeds operations.”

Mr. Taets most recently was president of ADM’s grain group, with responsibility for the company’s U.S. and export grain businesses, grain-merchandising operations, destination-marketing business, and ocean freight and vessel operations. Earlier, he was managing director of the company’s European Oilseeds operations. He joined ADM in 1988.

He is a member of the boards of the North American Export Grain Association, Golden Peanut Co., ADM Grain River System Inc. and Kalama Export, an ADM joint venture. He also represents ADM on boards in Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Holland, Mexico, Panama and Switzerland.

Mr. Taets received a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, and a master’s degree in business administration from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Brent Fenton has been named president of ADM Animal Nutrition, based in Decatur. ADM Animal Nutrition will bring together ADM’s specialty feed business, which supplies the livestock and aquaculture industries with amino acid-based feed ingredients,— with ADM Alliance Nutrition, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of ADM and a leading producer of livestock feed ingredients.

“With Brent’s strong commercial orientation, and his experience managing our European oilseeds business, he is well suited to improve returns by developing higher-value, higher-margin product opportunities and delivering synergies in the combined specialty feed businesses,” Mr. Luciano said.

Mr. Fenton previously was president of European operations, where he was responsible for setting strategy and coordinating growth activity across all ADM business lines in the region as well as managing the company’s European oilseeds business. He joined ADM in 1992.

He received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and agricultural economics from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Sask. He sits on the board of ADM Hamburg AG and FEDIOL, the federation representing the European vegetable oil and protein meal industry in Europe.