PEORIA, Ill. --
Following a previously announced succession plan, the board of directors of Caterpillar Inc
. has elected Doug Oberhelman CEO and a member of Caterpillar's board of directors, effective July 1. Oberhelman succeeds Jim Owens as CEO, while Owens will remain chairman of the board until Oct. 31, when he will retire after more than 38 years with the company. At that time, Oberhelman also will replace Owens as chairman.
Since becoming Chairman and CEO in 2004, Owens is credited with successfully leading Caterpillar through unprecedented growth from 2005 through 2008, followed by the global economic recession of 2009. During his tenure, employee safety and engagement scores improved dramatically, the company noted. Owens also introduced Caterpillar's Vision 2020 strategy; implemented the Caterpillar Production System; championed both key capacity expansion projects and mergers and acquisitions; and invested heavily in key research and development initiatives. A leading voice promoting global issues such as the importance of free trade, Owens in 2009, was named a member of President Barack Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
For the past six months, Oberhelman has been leading a team updating the company's Vision 2020 strategy, which was first introduced by Owens in 2005. The Caterpillar board has been actively engaged with the management team in reviewing and supporting the 2011-2015 strategy and is now in the process of sharing the updated strategy with employees, suppliers, dealers and shareholders.