Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman elects to retire
Caterpillar chairmand and CEO Doug Oberhelman elects to retire in 2017, after leading the company for 41 years
Doug Oberhelman, chairman and CEO of Caterpillar, and an employee at the company for more than 41 years, has elected to retire effective March 31, 2017, leaving a legacy of meaningful quality and safety improvements as the company navigated the global downturn in equipment.
Oberhelman is credited by Caterpillar with reinvigorating the company’s focus on serving customers and implementing a range of processes and measures that have led the equipment giant to its highest sales and revenue peak in its 91-year history in 2012.
During his tenure, Caterpillar’s product quality and safety have reached historically high levels, while a new lean management processes has simplified and sped up production, improving product availability for dealers and customers.
Caterpillar’s market position has also improved, with the company increasing its quarterly dividend by 83% since 2010. By the end of Q2 2016, Caterpillar’s machinery, energy and transportation division debt-to-capital ratio was down to 39%, with $6.764bn in cash as of June 30, 2016.
Oberhelman said: “During the last four years, Caterpillar has faced unprecedented global economic conditions that have significantly impacted the industries served by our customers. Faced with these challenges, our employees have responded like champions. We have improved our market position and grown our field population, and I believe we are leading the industry in digital capabilities.
“I am confident that Caterpillar is stronger than ever, with product quality, technology and innovation that are the envy of our competitors. Add to that lean and agile manufacturing capabilities and an unrivalled distribution. The future is bright.”
The company’s board of directors has in turn elected Jim Umpleby, Caterpillar group president for energy and transportation and a 35-year veteran of the company, to succeed Oberhelman as CEO effective January 1, 2017.
Umpleby first joined Caterpillar through its subsidiary Solar Turbines Incorporated, in San Diego, California in 1980, and has since assumed positions of increasing responsibility in engineering, manufacturing, sales, marketing and customer services.
He was named president of Solar Turbines and a Caterpillar VP in 2010, and group president and an executive in January 2013.
“My greatest responsibility as chairman and CEO is to position the company and its future leaders. It has been a privilege to lead, and I am confident in the choice of my successor, Jim Umpleby,” said Oberhelman.
Dave Calhoun, a Caterpillar board member, will assume the role of non-executive board chairman upon Oberhelman’s departure.