Caterpillar’s Executive Shuffle as Year Winds Down

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As the year draws to a close, Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) investors are seeing some changes in the company’s executive ranks. Following the previous announcement that Jim Umpleby will become Caterpillar’s chief executive officer on January 1, 2017, the board of directors has made some additional appointments.

Construction Industries Group President Tom Pellette will replace Umpleby as group president of Energy & Transportation. Replacing Pellette will be Bob De Lange, who is currently vice president of the Excavation Division.

Also Caterpillar’s board has appointed Zack Kauk to be a vice president in the Excavation Division.

The board has appointed Billy Ainsworth as senior vice president and strategic advisor to the Caterpillar Executive Office. Ainsworth will continue to have responsibility for Caterpillar’s Rail Division.

As Kent Adams, president and chief executive officer of Caterpillar Financial Services has elected to retire, Dave Walton will replace him. Walton is currently a vice president in that division.

Mike DeWalt, vice president of the Finance Services Division, also has elected to retire. Joe Creed has been chosen to succeed DeWalt. Creed is currently chief financial officer for Energy & Transportation.

Jill Daugherty, currently Caterpillar’s corporate controller, has been appointed as chief audit officer. Kyle Epley, currently chief financial officer for Customer & Dealer Support, will replace her as corporate controller.

Recently Caterpillar announced company-wide layoffs amid lower projected sales and revenues in 2017 than the previous year. Caterpillar did not confirm the scope of the layoffs.

Note that Caterpillar’s stock has been among the most successful in the Dow Jones Industrial Average this year, up more than 38%, compared to less than 15% for the index. This gain so far in 2016 was far from expected, and much of that gain was even before the post-election rally, as Trump talked up infrastructure spending. Its dividend yield would have even been stronger had the performance not been so high, so the stock looks set to be one of the 2017 Dogs of the Dow.

Caterpillar shares were trading near $94 on Friday, within a 52-week range of $56.36 to $97.40. The consensus analyst price target is $86.89.