Caterpillar chairman and chief executive officer Doug Oberhelman announced that he will retire from the company effective March 31, 2017 the company said in a statement. He has been with Caterpillar for more than 41 years.
During his time as Chairman and CEO, Oberhelman is credited with reinvigorating 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 revenues peak in its 91-year history in 2012, and was at the helm of the world’s largest heavy machinery maker when the company pushed deeper into mining with the 2011 acquisition of Bucyrus.
Jim Umpleby, group president for energy and transportation, will succeed Oberhelman as CEO from Jan. 1, while the current head of CAT will remain as chairman until March, the company 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,” 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.”
“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 unrivaled global distribution channel. The future is bright,” Oberhelman added.
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. He joined Solar Turbines Incorporated in San Diego, California, in 1980. Solar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., 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.