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Caterpillar chairman and CEO elects to retire in 2017


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October 20, 2016 by On-Site Magazine

After more than 41 years with Caterpillar Inc., Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman has elected to retire, effective March 31, 2017.

After more than 41 years with Caterpillar Inc., Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman has elected to retire, effective March 31, 2017.

After more than 41 years with Caterpillar Inc., chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman has elected to retire, effective March 31, 2017.

According to a company press release: “During his time as chairman and CEO, Oberhelman has reinvigorated the company’s focus on serving customers while also driving a culture of quality and safety. Oberhelman led the company to its highest sales and revenue peak in its 91-year history in 2012, and, since that time, has successfully led the company through the unprecedented downturn affecting our key industries.”

During Oberhelman’s tenure:

  • Product quality levels have reached historically high levels.
  • Market position for machines has significantly increased. 
  • New Lean Management processes have simplified and sped production capabilities, improving product availability for dealers and customers. 
  • The company has increased its quarterly dividend by 83 per cent since 2010.
  • The balance sheet is strong, and at the end of the second quarter of 2016, Caterpillar’s Machinery Energy & Transportation debt-to-capital ratio was 39.0 per cent, with $6.764 billion in cash as of June 30, 2016.
  • Global safety metrics for employees have dramatically improved, with the Recordable Injury Frequency improving each year. 
  • Caterpillar has been granted nearly 7,300 patents worldwide.
  • The company dramatically expanded its commitment to lower owning and operating costs for customers by connecting new and existing equipment through digital technology and data analytics.

“Our people have heard me say many times that my greatest responsibility as chairman and CEO is to manage Caterpillar for today and position the company and its future leaders for long-term success,” Oberhelman said. “It has been an honor and a privilege to lead this company, and I am confident in the choice of my successor, Jim Umpleby.”

Stepping up

The company’s Board of Directors has elected Jim Umpleby, currently a Caterpillar Group president with responsibility for Energy & Transportation, to succeed Oberhelman as CEO. Umpleby, a 35-year veteran of the company, will join the Caterpillar Board of Directors and become CEO effective January 1, 2017. 

“For more than 91 years, Caterpillar equipment has been renowned for its quality, durability, innovation and value,” Umpleby said. “I have been privileged to work with Caterpillar employees and dealers in supporting our customers as they develop the world’s infrastructure and improve standards of living and quality of life. I look forward to leading our dedicated team as we build upon the accomplishments of those that have come before us.”

Oberhelman will remain as executive chairman of Caterpillar until March 31, 2017, when he will retire. Upon Oberhelman’s retirement, Dave Calhoun, a current member of the Caterpillar Board, will assume the role of non-executive chairman of the Board. Calhoun is senior managing director and head of Private Equity Portfolio Operations of The Blackstone Group L.P.

Ed Rust, former chairman and chief executive officer of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, and currently presiding director of the Caterpillar Board, will remain on the Board, but will no longer hold the title of presiding director once Calhoun assumes the role of non-executive chairman.

 


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