The Caterpillar Inc. board of directors has appointed James W. Owens vice chairman and named him the next chairman and chief executive officer of Caterpillar Inc. He will replace Glen A. Barton, who has elected to retire Jan. 31, 2004, after nearly 43 years of Caterpillar service and five years as chairman and chief executive officer.
“Jim brings a broad understanding of Caterpillar’s business strategy as group president for a diverse set of business units, including human services, component manufacturing, product support, logistics, information technology and Latin American marketing,” said Barton.
“His education and experience, which includes a doctorate in economics; extensive financial experience culminating in his role as Caterpillar’s chief financial officer; management responsibilities in Europe, Indonesia, South America and North America; and advisory positions on international boards and councils uniquely qualify him for the challenges Caterpillar faces in a complex global economy. I am confident that Jim will take full advantage of the current economic upturn and build on Caterpillar’s long tradition of financial strength and market leadership,” said Barton.
Caterpillar’s policy sets a mandatory retirement age for officers of 65 years, which Barton will reach in August 2004. “Making this change now rather than mid-year allows us to align our leadership transition with Caterpillar’s annual planning cycle, when the overall organization is setting performance expectations for the new year,” Barton added.
“Glen informed us more than a year ago of his plans to retire at the end of 2003, and the Board initiated its succession planning process which led us to this decision,” said John T. Dillon, chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee of Caterpillar’s board of directors. “After several meetings, we concluded that Jim Owens is the right choice to lead the company.”
Owens joined Caterpillar in 1972 as a corporate economist and held various management positions in economics, accounting and product source planning. In 1987, he became managing director of P.T. Natra Raya, Caterpillar’s joint venture in Indonesia. He was elected a corporate vice president in 1990 and named president of Solar Turbines Incorporated, a Caterpillar subsidiary in San Diego. In 1993, he became chief financial officer and in 1995, assumed the position of group president.
The board appointed Owens vice chairman effective immediately. He will succeed Glen Barton as chairman and CEO effective Feb. 1, 2004.
“I am tremendously pleased with what we have accomplished over the past five years. Our business units are well-positioned to take advantage of future opportunities,” said Barton, reflecting on his tenure. “I will miss the daily interaction with employees, dealers and customers. Even after 43 years, I am still impressed with the great work Caterpillar products accomplish worldwide and with the team that makes that possible.”
Barton began his career in 1961 and has held numerous marketing and management positions with responsibilities for North America, South America, Europe and Japan. He was elected a Caterpillar vice president in 1987 and chairman and CEO in 1999.
“Glen Barton presided over Caterpillar during a period in which the company substantially outperformed the market despite weakening industry fundamentals. His focus on the continued diversification of products and services, internal process improvements and cost reduction have solidly placed the company on a path to reaching $30 billion in sales and revenues by the end of this decade,” said Owens.
“Also under Glen’s leadership, Caterpillar fully embraced 6 Sigma, which is driving a continuous improvement culture and enabling employees to deliver efficiency gains in virtually all aspects of the company’s business. When he retires, Glen passes on a strong and lean company that is ready to meet the challenges of the future.”