Caterpillar chief executive Doug Oberhelman resigns after 41 years at construction giant

Francesca Washtell
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Caterpillar To Shed 20,000 Jobs Worldwide As Profits Fall
Caterpillar is the world's largest construction equipment maker (Source: Getty)

The chief executive and chairman of US construction giant Caterpillar, Doug Oberhelman, will retire in January, the company announced today.

Oberhelman, who has worked at the heavy machinery group for 41 years and became chief exec in 2010, will be succeeded by Jim Umpleby, who has worked at the Illinois-based firm for 35 years.

Umpleby will join the board and take up the role of chief exec on 1 January.

Dave Calhoun will become nonexecutive chairman of the board after Oberhelman steps down as executive chairman on 31 March.

Read more: Caterpillar slows to a crawl as group awaits mining recovery

In a statement, Oberhelman 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. It has been an honour and a privilege to lead this company, and I am confident in the choice of my successor, Jim Umpleby.

Read more: UK construction industry still struggling for momentum

Oberhelman led the group to record profits in 2012, but Caterpillar has struggled to maintain the momentum since and is now in the midst of its longest ever sales decline. The company was forced to downgrade its outlook for the rest of the year in July due to the problems facing the mining and construction industries.

Its lower guidance for the full year came alongside steep declines in second-quarter profit and revenue. Caterpillar now expects to earn $3.55 a share this year, excluding restructuring costs.

Shares in the New York-listed group were down 0.14 per cent in early trading today to $87.55.

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