The Caterpillar Inc. board of directors has appointed James W. Owens vice chairman and named him the next chairman and chief executive officer of the company. 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," 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, 57, 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 Inc., a Caterpillar subsidiary in San Diego. In 1993 he became chief financial officer and in 1995 assumed the position of group president.