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Incoming Caterpillar CEO brings 3 decades of experience

Jim Umpleby, who will replace Doug Oberhelman as CEO of Caterpillar Inc. on Jan. 1, 2017. | Caterpillar Inc. via AP

PEORIA — Caterpillar Inc. officials say the company’s new CEO, Jim Umpleby, will bring experience in the global markets and an understanding and respect for the company’s place in central Illinois.

The construction and mining equipment company announced Monday that Umpleby will replace Doug Oberhelman as CEO on Jan. 1. Oberhelman will retire March 31.

Umpleby has worked at Caterpillar for more than three decades. He is currently president of the company’s Peoria-headquartered energy and transportation group, which reported $17.9 billion in sales last year.

Umpleby has worked for the company in the United States and Asia, including assignments in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Caterpillar spokeswoman Rachel Potts said Umpleby is committed to making Caterpillar stronger and has deep roots in the Peoria area. Potts said the CEO switch wasn’t due to the company’s global restructuring plan, which is expected to save Caterpillar $1.5 billion by 2018 due to 10,000 job layoffs, facility closings and discontinuation of some equipment.

“As for the headquarters plans, we are experiencing an unprecedented business downturn,” Potts said. “In response to these conditions, we have reduced our workforce, closed facilities and made other difficult but necessary decisions to keep the company strong.”

In a departure from the structure of the company’s current administration, Umpleby won’t take up the chairmanship of Caterpillar’s board of directors. Instead, current board member Dave Calhoun will get the role of non-executive chairman.