Caterpillar has announced that chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman will retire on 31 March, 2017.
Oberhelman has been part of the US equipment manufacturer for over 41 years, and led the company to its highest ever recorded sales and revenues in 2012.
Caterpillar said that its departing chairman and CEO had improved the company’s product quality levels, increased its market position for machines and simplified its production capabilities through new lean management processes.
The company’s board of directors have elected Jim Umpleby, Caterpillar group president with responsibility for energy & transportation, to succeed Oberhelman as CEO.
Umpleby has worked for Caterpillar for 35 years and will join the Caterpillar board of directors and become CEO on 1 January, 2017.
He joined Solar Turbines – a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar – in 1980, before being elected a Caterpillar vice president and president of Solar Turbines in 2010. He was then named group president and a member of Caterpillar’s executive office in January 2013.
Commenting on his forthcoming retirement, Oberhelman said, “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.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to lead this company, and I am confident in the choice of my successor, Jim Umpleby.”
He added that, during the last four years, Caterpillar had faced difficult global economic conditions that had significantly impacted the industries served by its customers. He said Caterpillar’s employees had responded “like champions”.
He added, “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. The future is bright.”