The board of directors of Caterpillar Inc. last week elected Douglas Oberhelman to the offices of vice chairman and CEO - Elect, effective Jan. 1, 2010. Oberhelman currently serves as group president of Caterpillar with responsibility for the company’s engine and gas turbine businesses, human services, rail services and remanufacturing divisions. As vice chairman and CEO - Elect, Oberhelman will take on the additional responsibilities of managing the leadership transition and updating the company’s strategy.
Announcing the succession plan at this time allows Oberhelman to concentrate on aligning resources for the future and defining critical success factors for Caterpillar’s leadership going forward. He will serve as vice chairman and CEO - Elect until the June 2010 Caterpillar board of directors meeting, at which time he will be elected CEO and a member of the board of directors, succeeding James Owens, 63. Owens will continue to serve as chairman of the board and CEO until July 1, 2010. He will remain as chairman of the board through Oct. 31, 2010, when he will retire in accordance with the company’s long-standing mandatory retirement policy and be succeeded by Oberhelman at that time.
“Jim informed us in 2008 that he was planning to retire in the fall of 2010 and has worked extensively with the Governance Committee and the board of directors over the last 12 months to develop a succession plan to smoothly transition the company into its next phase of executive leadership and to align the transition with the company's annual and long-term strategic planning cycles,” said W. Frank Blount, presiding director and chairman of the Governance Committee of Caterpillar’s board of directors. “Jim has provided exceptional leadership to the company during its most significant period of growth and also during the most severe global economic recession since the 1930s.”
Owens has given his full support to his successor. “Doug has gained a broad understanding of Caterpillar’s business through his diverse background, which has ranged from serving as our chief financial officer, to focusing on operational excellence in Cat’s engine manufacturing operations, to leading marketing efforts in the Americas,” said Owens. “Doug’s expertise in all critical facets of our business, combined with his international business experience in Asia and Latin America, and his relentless focus on execution and results make him uniquely qualified to lead Caterpillar in today’s global economy.”
Oberhelman joined Caterpillar in 1975 in the corporate treasury department and has held a variety of positions, including senior finance representative based in South America for Caterpillar Americas Co.; region finance manager and district manager for the company’s North American Commercial Division; and managing director and vice general manager for strategic planning at Shin Caterpillar Mitsubishi Ltd. in Tokyo.
Oberhelman was elected a vice president in 1995, serving as Caterpillar’s chief financial officer with administrative responsibility for the corporation’s accounting, information services, tax, treasury, investor relations and marketing support services areas from 1995 to November 1998. He then became vice president with responsibility for the Engine Products Division, including the market development, strategic planning, supplier management, electric power generation and worldwide marketing and administration for Caterpillar’s engine business. He was elected a group president and member of Caterpillar’s executive office in 2002 and has had responsibility for the company’s Asia Pacific region as well as Cat’s financial products and strategic support divisions. He also was responsible for the legal services and systems and processes divisions. He currently oversees the human services and sustainable development functions as well as Caterpillar’s growing remanufacturing business. He also leads the worldwide manufacturing, marketing and support of industrial and large power systems, industrial gas turbines and Progress Rail Services.
For more information, visit www.cat.com.