Caterpillar to get new CEO as mining slump persists


New York (AFP)

Caterpillar announced Monday that its chief executive was stepping down as the heavy equipment maker suffers from a prolonged slowdown in the mining sector.

Doug Oberhelman will hand over reins as chief executive to Caterpillar group president Jim Umpleby on January 1.

Oberhelman took over at Caterpillar in 2010 amid a booming commodities market. But he has been criticized for engineering an $8.8 billion 2011 takeover of mining-equipment maker Bucyrus shortly before the downturn. The Wall Street Journal on Monday called the investment "spectacularly mistimed."

Oberhelman will step down as chairman on March 1, to be replaced by David Calhoun, a current board member who will become non-executive chairman.

Caterpillar's results have been ravaged the last couple of years by the depression in the mining sector around the world, due primarily to slower growth in China and the crash of oil prices.

In response, Caterpillar has announced repeat rounds of job cuts and facility closures. In July, Caterpillar said it expected additional job cuts in the second half of 2016 as it reported a 31 percent call in second-quarter earnings to $550 million.

Headcount at the end of the quarter was 100,0000, down about 10 percent from a year ago.

Shares of Caterpillar dipped 0.1 percent to $87.56 in mid-morning trade.