New era at Caterpillar as Jim Umpleby elected as next CEO

Jim Umpleby takes the reins as new Caterpillar CEO, effective January 1, 2017.

Jim Umpleby, currently a Caterpillar Group President with responsibility for Energy & Transportation, will succeed Doug Oberhelman as Caterpillar’s CEO, effective January 1, 2017. This follows the original equipment manufacturer’s announcement that current Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman has elected to retire, effective March 31, 2017.

Elected by the Board of Directors to take over the reins as new CEO, Umpleby, a 35-year veteran of the company, will also join the Caterpillar Board of Directors. He joined Solar Turbines Incorporated in San Diego, California, in 1980. Solar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of industrial gas turbine systems. Early in his career, he held numerous positions of increasing responsibility in engineering, manufacturing, sales, marketing and customer services.

Umpleby lived in Asia from 1984 to 1990, with assignments in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Caterpillar Board of Directors elected Umpleby a Caterpillar Vice President and President of Solar Turbines in 2010. He was named Group President and a member of Caterpillar’s Executive Office, effective January 2013.

“For more than 91 years, Caterpillar equipment has been renowned for its quality, durability, innovation and value,” says Umpleby. “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.”

doug-oberhelman

Doug Oberhelman has elected to retire from his current position as Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar, effective March 31, 2017.

Oberhelman’s era

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 key industries. 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,” says Oberhelman. “It has been an honour and a privilege to lead this company, and I am confident in the choice of my successor, Jim Umpleby.”

“During the last four years, Caterpillar has faced unprecedented global economic conditions that have significantly impacted the industries served by our customers, as those industries and economic growth in many regions around the world have slowed or severely contracted. Faced with these challenges, our employees have responded like champions. We have improved our market position and grown our field population. Our product quality is at historically high levels, and I believe we are leading the industry in digital capabilities. I am confident that Caterpillar is stronger than ever, with product quality, power, technology and innovation that is the envy of our competitors. Add to that lean and agile manufacturing capabilities and an unrivalled global distribution channel. The future is bright,” adds Oberhelman.

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.

Equipment Africa says: Oberhelman leaves at a time when the global equipment market is under severe strain, especially due to the downturn in the mining sector. But, he will go down in history as the man who led Caterpillar through some of the turbulent times through greater focus on product quality, power, technology and innovation. As he says, despite the challenging times, the groundwork for future success is well in place.

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