Caterpillar chairman, CEO Barton to retire; Company announces further retirements, appointments

Glen Barton will retire Jan. 31 as chairman and chief executive of Caterpillar. The company’s board of directors has appointed James Owens to succeed Barton, who has worked for Caterpillar nearly 43 years and spent five years as chairman and CEO. Caterpillar sets a mandatory retirement age of 65 for officers. Barton will turn 65 in August, and said he chose to retire at the end of the year in order to align the leadership transition with Caterpillar’s annual planning cycle. During his career, Barton held numerous marketing and management positions with responsibilities for North America, South America, Europe and Japan. Owens, 57, joined Caterpillar in 1972 as a corporate economist and has held various management positions. In 1993 he became chief financial officer and assumed the role of group president in 1995.

Caterpillar has also announced the retirement of two of its officers, the appointment of two group presidents and three vice presidents, and one change in vice presidential responsibility. The appointments are effective Jan. 1.

Vito Baumgartner, group president with responsibility for the building construction products division, EAME marketing and product development & operations divisions and European shared services division, will retire Jan. 31. He joined Caterpillar in 1963 and has held a variety of posts in the United States, Europe and South America. Gérard Vittecoq, who joined Caterpillar in 1975, will replace Baumgartner. He is currently a vice president with administrative responsibility for the EAME operations division, including Caterpillar Belgium S.A., Caterpillar France S.A., global paving and European fabrications & work tools. Michael Baunton, vice president in charge of Caterpillar’s compact power systems division and president of Perkins Engines, will assume the responsibilities currently assigned to Vittecoq. Baunton oversees Perkins Engines and FG Wilson products, including manufacturing facilities in the United Kingdom and Brazil. He took his current position in March 1998 following Caterpillar’s acquisition of Perkins, and was elected a Caterpillar vice president in November 1998.

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Hans Haefeli was elected vice president with responsibility for the compact power systems division to replace Baunton. He is currently general manager for the building construction products division, based in Cary, N.C.

Sherril West will also retire Jan. 31, having completed a 30-year Caterpillar career. She most recently worked as head of the company’s technical services division. She has administrative responsibility for the company’s research and development activities, as well as operations at the technical center in Mossville, Ill., and the three company proving grounds. The board elected Mark Pflederer vice president to take West’s place. He is currently general manager of electronic & electrical systems within the component products & control systems division.

The board named Steven Wunning to the group president position vacated by James Owens. Wunning, who joined the company 1973, is a Caterpillar vice president and currently holds the position of chairman and president of Caterpillar Logistics Services. He has responsibility for more than 90 facilities in 25 countries with nearly 8,100 employees. The board elected Mary Bell vice president to replace Wunning at Cat Logistics. She joined the company in 1981 and is currently manager of Caterpillar distribution services, a division of Cat Logistics. Bell is responsible for the worldwide network of Caterpillar parts distribution facilities and overseas logistics and transportation services for all Cat branded parts and other products sold to Cat dealers.