Caterpillar has announced that its chairman and CEO, Doug Oberhelman, will retire on March 31 next year.
Oberhelman, who has spent more than 41 years with the global construction machinery giant, led the company to its highest sales and revenue peak in its 91-year history in 2012, and since then has guided the company through the downturn affecting the global construction machinery sector, Caterpillar said in a statement.
The company’s board has elected Jim Umpleby to succeed Oberhelman as CEO, while Dave Calhoun will be the new non-executive chairman of the board.
Among Caterpillar’s key achievements during Oberhelman’s leadership are an 83% increase in quarterly dividend since 2010, the granting of 7,300 patents to the company worldwide and a significant improvement in global safety metrics for employees, the statement added.
Oberhelman also leaves Caterpillar with a strong balance sheet, with $6.764 billion in cash as of June 30, 2016, and the debt-to-capital ratio of Cat’s Machinery Energy & Transportation division at the end of the second quarter of 2016 standing at 39%, 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 honour and a privilege to lead this company, and I am confident in the choice of my successor, Jim Umpleby.”
The outgoing executive added: “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.”
Incoming CEO Umpleby is currently a Caterpillar group president with responsibility for Energy & Transportation. The statement added that he is a 35-year veteran of the company and will join the Caterpillar Board of Directors and become CEO effective January 1, 2017.
Umpleby joined Caterpillar subsidiary Solar Turbines Incorporated in San Diego, California, in 1980. He has held numerous positions of responsibility in engineering, manufacturing, sales, marketing and customer services and was in Asia from 1984 to 1990 with assignments in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. He was elected Caterpillar’s vice president and president of Solar Turbines in 2010 and was named group president and a member of Caterpillar’s Executive Office, effective January 2013, the statement added.
“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,” Umpleby said.
Calhoun, senior managing director and head of Private Equity Portfolio Operations of The Blackstone Group, has been a member of the Caterpillar Board of Directors since 2011. The company’s statement said that he was previously executive chair of Nielsen Holdings N.V. (2014-2015), served as chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of The Nielsen Company B.V. (2006-2013), vice chairman of General Electric Company and president and CEO of GE Infrastructure (2005-2006).
“I am honored to take on these new responsibilities with Caterpillar,” Calhoun said. “I also want to compliment Doug for his outstanding leadership as chairman and CEO… His leadership in the last four years has been remarkable as the company has successfully navigated an incredibly difficult cycle while positioning Caterpillar to take full advantage of the next upturn.”
Oberhelman will remain as executive chairman of Caterpillar until March 31, 2017, when he will retire.