Global heavy equipment major Caterpillar has announced its current chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) Doug Oberhelman will officially retire in March 2017.

During his 41-year tenure with Caterpillar, Oberhelman steered the company towards record successes, including its highest ever sales and revenue in 2012.

Since then, Oberhelman effectively navigated Caterpillar through the severe downturn that has tested many of the company’s key markets in recent years.

“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,” Oberhelman said.

“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 unrivalled global distribution channel. The future is bright,” Oberhelman added.

Throughout his time with Caterpillar, Oberhelman’s other significant achievements, included simplifying and boosting production efficiency and product availability, enhancing safety, increasing quarterly dividends, reducing operational costs and obtaining more than 7,300 patents across the globe.

“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.

Caterpillar chairman and CEO doug oberhelman plans to retire in March 2017

Caterpillar chairman and CEO
Doug Oberhelman
plans to retire in March 2017


Two individuals have been elected to succeed Oberhelman once his retirement comes into effect.

Jim Umpleby will step up as Caterpillar’s next CEO, while Dave Calhoun will fill the chairman role in a non-executive capacity.

Caterpillar incoming CEO Jim Umpleby

Caterpillar incoming CEO
Jim Umpleby

Jim Umpleby

Umpleby is no stranger to Caterpillar and is currently the company group president for energy and transportation. Umpleby has been with Caterpillar for 35-years and he will take on the CEO role on 1 January 2017.

“For more than 91 years, Caterpillar equipment has been renowned for its quality, durability, innovation and value,” Umpleby said.

“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,” he added.

Caterpillar incoming chairman Dave Calhoun

Caterpillar incoming chairman
Dave Calhoun

Dave Calhoun

Meanwhile, current Caterpillar board member Calhoun will step into the non-executive chairman position at the end of March 2017, when Oberhelman’s retirement comes into effect.

Current presiding director of the Caterpillar board Ed Rust said the board had a “succession planning process” for critical management roles.

“One of our top priorities as a board is developing a strong pipeline of senior leaders. Discussions are held throughout each year, and today’s announcement is the result of these ongoing and deliberate board discussions,” Rust said.


Resolute Equipment is a proud supplier of quality Caterpillar heavy machinery, parts and components to Australia’s mining, energy, construction and agriculture sectors.

Speak to one of our experts today to see how we can add value to your business: 1300 30 88 40