With VP Henricks’s retirement, Caterpillar cuts more jobs in consolidation of tech, R&D efforts

Updated Oct 26, 2016

Caterpillar 308E2 VAB excavator 10Following a 35-year career with the company, Gwenne Henricks, vice president for the Caterpillar Product Development & Global Technology Division, has announced she will retire from the company.

Henricks is the third Cat VP to retire in the last year. Former mining VP Chris Curfman announced his retirement in September and in February former Electric Power Division VP Steve Niehaus announced his own.

RELATED >> Cat to end track drill production, intends to sell room and pillar underground mining machines

Henricks’s retirement will take effect September 1, at which point Cat has announced that it will consolidate the PD> and Advanced Component & System Division (ACSD) teams, bringing all of its technology and R&D efforts into one new division.

Consolidations also followed the previous two VP retirements. With Curfman’s retirement at the end of 2015, the Mining Sales and Support Division he led was integrated into the existing Global Mining machine business division. And when Niehaus stepped down from his position June 1, Cat consolidated the EP division with the Marine & Petroleum Power Divisions.


Though the company has not provided specific figures, the consolidation will bring “significant” job cuts with it, according to Resource Industries group president Denise Johnson.

The consolidation is part of Cat’s ongoing cost reduction program. Announced in September, the company hopes to save $1.5 billion annually over the next few years through the reduction of thousands of jobs from its global workforce and the closing and consolidation of up to 20 facilities.

In the last year, the company has cut more than 14,000 employees from its global workforce. Nearly 200 more job reductions are expected to come with Cat’s decision to discontinue production of track drills and intent to sell off its room and pillar underground mining machines.

“Gwenne has spent her entire career in engineering, product and business management, which made her the absolute right advocate and leader to deploy the Enterprise Technology Strategy and strengthen the global engineering talent pipeline,” Johnson said in a prepared statement. “She is one of the most collaborative leaders who’s always focused on what’s best for the enterprise—whether that’s defining and executing on a turnaround plan during her time as Industrial Power Systems Division vice president or as a critical member of the Tier 4 emissions rollout across Caterpillar’s extensive product line. I thank Gwenne for her commitment to this company for more than three decades, and I wish her only the best in her well-deserved retirement.”

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With Henricks’s exit, the new division will be led by current ACSD VP Jean Savage. Manufacturing functions within ACSD will be led by current ACSD Operations General Manager Steve Ferguson, who will report directly to Johnson.


“Jean’s role in leading the formation and development of this new organization will be critical in establishing how Caterpillar accelerates our global research, technology and product development strategies,” said Johnson. “The creation of this division will also deliver necessary efficiencies, which does mean continued and significant workforce reductions. While difficult, the streamlining at all levels of the company, including within the officer ranks, is necessary given the global market environment that is impacting the company’s business.”

Henricks joined Cat in 1981, was named VP with responsibility for the Electronics and Connected Worksite Division in 2007 and became VP of the Industrial Power Systems Division before the Board of Directors named her to her most recent position in 2012.

Henricks has both a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Bradley University, a master’s in business administration from the University of Illinois and completed the Managing Engineering Design and Development Program at Carnegie Mellon University’s Bosch Institute.

Savage joined Cat subsidiary Progress Rail Services in 2002. In addition to nearly 30 years in the industry, Savage also spend nine years in the U.S. Army Reserves as a military intelligence officer. She holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Dayton.