Cat CEO Oberhelman to retire

By |  October 17, 2016
Doug Oberhelman

Doug Oberhelman

Doug Oberhelman, chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc., plans to retire March 31, 2017.

Cat named Jim Umpleby, group president for energy and transportation, as the company’s new CEO.

Oberhelman was elected chairman of the board of directors and CEO of Cat in 2010. Since becoming chairman and CEO, Oberhelman has led Cat through accelerated business cycles, implementing cost efficiencies and lean manufacturing to simplify and improve global manufacturing and operations, Cat says.

“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 says. “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,” he adds. “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 joined the Cat treasury department in 1975 and has worked in or led a variety of businesses across the company. He was elected as a Cat vice president and CFO in 1995. From 2002 to 2010, he was a group president with responsibility for many of Cat’s core businesses. Over the course of his career at Cat he has lived in North America, South America and Asia.

Jim Umpleby

Jim Umpleby

Oberhelman serves on the board of directors of Exxon Mobil Corp. and is chairman of Business Roundtable. He is a member of the Business Council and former chair of the National Association of Manufacturers. He also serves as vice president of the Wetlands America Trust, a member of the Nature Conservancy’s Latin America Conservation Council and chairman of the board of trustees for the Easter Seals Foundation of Central Illinois. He previously served on the boards of Eli Lilly and Company and Ameren Corp.

Umpleby, a 35-year veteran of the company, will join the Cat board of directors and become CEO effective Jan. 1, 2017. He joined Solar Turbines Inc. in San Diego in 1980. Solar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cat, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of industrial gas turbine systems.

Early in his career, Umpleby held a number of positions of increasing responsibility in engineering, manufacturing, sales, marketing and customer service. Umpleby lived in Asia from 1984 to 1990, with assignments in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Cat board of directors elected Umpleby as a Cat vice president and president of Solar Turbines in 2010. He was named group president and a member of Cat’s’s executive office in January 2013.

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Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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