After more than 41 years with Caterpillar Inc., Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman has elected to retire, effective March 31, 2017. 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 its key industries.
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.
During Oberhelman’s tenure:
- Product quality levels have reached historically high levels.
- Market position for machines has significantly increased.
- New Lean Management processes have simplified and sped production capabilities, improving product availability for dealers and customers.
- The company has increased its quarterly dividend by 83% since 2010.
- The balance sheet is strong, and at the end of the second quarter of 2016, Caterpillar’s Machinery Energy & Transportation debt-to-capital ratio was 39.0%, with $6.764 billion in cash as of June 30, 2016.
- Global safety metrics for employees have dramatically improved, with the Recordable Injury Frequency improving each year.
- Caterpillar has been granted nearly 7,300 patents worldwide.
- 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,” 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.