Caterpillar CEO to retire, successor a company veteran

Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:28pm EDT
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CHICAGO (Reuters) - (This version of the Oct. 17 story corrects spelling of Oberhelman in paragraph 2 and Umpleby in paragraph 5)

Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N: Quote) insider Jim Umpleby will become chief executive of the heavy equipment maker on Jan. 1, faced with the challenge of reversing a multiyear sales decline triggered by the global commodities slump.

He replaces Doug Oberhelman, who will retire as CEO on Dec. 31 but stay on as executive board chairman until March 31, the company said on Monday.

Caterpillar shares were down about 0.58 percent to $87.20.

Under Oberhelman the company recorded record high revenue in 2012, two years after he became CEO. However, a decline in metals and oil prices hit the company hard and its sales have fallen since 2013.

A 35-year company veteran, Umpleby must grapple with Caterpillar's sober outlook.

In July, the company said it expects no upturn this year in the mining, oil and gas and transportation industries as commodity prices have apparently stabilized at low levels.

To cut costs, the company has shed nearly 14,000 employees since 2015 and more layoffs are planned.   Continued...

Doug Oberhelman visits the Ernest Hemingway Museum before a news conference in Havana, Cuba, May 11, 2016, REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini