Deere realigns key Construction and Forestry leadership roles as Guinn announces retirement

Updated Oct 5, 2018

With the pending retirement of its head of worldwide construction and forestry, Deere & Company is realigning its leadership team in response to the planned retirement.

After 38 years with the company, Max Guinn, 60, will retire as president of the Worldwide Construction and Forestry Division.

“We are taking this opportunity to realign the senior management team to improve efficiency, further develop leadership talent, and more effectively align the organization in support of the company’s business strategy,” says Samuel Allen, chairman and CEO.

He’s announcing Guinn’s retirement and the following changes effective November 15:

  • James Field, 55, will be appointed president of the Worldwide Construction & Forestry Division.
  • John May, 49, is the new president of the Worldwide Agriculture & Turf Division – Global Harvesting and Turf Platforms, Ag Solutions, Americas and Australia.
  • Mark von Pentz, 55, will be appointed president, Worldwide Agriculture & Turf Division, Global Tractor and Hay & Forage Platforms, Europe, CIS, Asia, Africa.
  • Raj Kalathur, 50, will be appointed senior vice president, chief financial officer and chief information officer.

“As a business leader, Max is known for his approachable style and outstanding communication skills,” Allen says.

After joining Deere as an engineer in 1980, his career included a variety of management and leadership assignments.

“Throughout his career, he has shown a rare talent for tackling difficult issues with sensitivity and tact,” Allen says. “During his tenure as president of Worldwide Construction & Forestry, the division expanded its product line, updated its manufacturing capabilities, and broadened its global market presence.”

After successful assignments in engineering, quality, supply management and factory management, Guinn became vice president of manufacturing in the Construction & Forestry Division in 2000, moved to the Agriculture & Turf Division in 2005 as senior vice president of manufacturing and engineering for harvesting equipment, and later served as senior vice president for the global harvesting platform.

Guinn joined the company’s senior management team in 2012 as senior vice president for human resources, communications, public affairs, and labor relations.

He has been president of Worldwide Construction & Forestry since October 2014 and directed the Wirtgen Group acquisition in 2017, the world leader in road building equipment. It was the company’s largest-ever acquisition and a move that added global scale to its construction equipment business.

Partner Insights
Information to advance your business from industry suppliers
How High Fuel Prices hurt Your Business
Presented by EquipmentWatch
Selecting the Correct Construction Tire Solution
Presented by Michelin North America
8 Crucial Elements of a Tire Safety Program
Presented by Michelin North America

Guinn holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri at Rolla (now Missouri University of Science & Technology) and an MBA from the University of Dubuque.

Field, who had been a president in Deere’s Agriculture & Turf Division, will succeed Guinn as president of Worldwide Construction & Forestry. He has an extensive background in finance and operations and in his new role will focus on sustainable, profitable growth around the globe as well as the continued integration of the Wirtgen Group, a press release says.

May will assume leadership responsibilities for the Agriculture & Turf Division in the Americas and the crop harvesting and turf platforms while continuing to lead the crop care platform and Intelligent Solutions Group. He has had primary responsibility for the company’s precision-agriculture strategy since 2012.

Von Pentz will add Deere’s hay and forage product platform to his existing duties of leading the company’s tractor platform and for Europe, the CIS, Asia and Africa. Combining the hay and forage and tractor platforms reinforces Deere’s commitment to ongoing worldwide growth, the company says.

Kalathur will continue in his role as chief financial officer and assume responsibility for the company’s information and technology function – a move to help position information technology as a strategic competitive advantage for Deere.