Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby now also company’s chairman

Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT), the world's no.1 heavy machinery maker, is giving chief executive officer Jim Umpleby the additional responsibility of becoming the company’s chairman, effective immediately.

Umpleby has been a member of the board and CEO since Jan. 1, 2017.

Dave Calhoun, who has served as non-executive chairman since April 1, 2017, will remain on the Board as Presiding Director, the company said.

Caterpillar is also stepping up efforts to provide additional autonomous  offerings,  with  the  goal  of  making  its  entire  large  mining  truck  class  autonomy-ready.  That  includes  the  newly-added  electric  drive  796  AC  and  798  AC  haul  trucks.

Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby now also the company’s chairman

Jim Umpleby, Caterpillar CEO, has been elected to the additional position of Chairman of the Board, effective immediately.

The  company,  which  only  tapped  into  the  autonomous  trend  five  years  ago,  already  has  seven  driverless  haul  fleets  around  the  globe,  Sudhanshu  Singh,  Global  Product  Manager,  Trucks told MINING.com in November.

He  noted  that  an  eighth  fleet will  come  online  next  year  at  Fortescue  Metal  Group’s  Cloudbreak  iron  ore  mine  in  Western  Australia.

“We  have  now  the  second  largest  autonomous  fleet  operating  at  a  mine,  moving  an  average  of  over  2  million  tonnes  of  ore,”  Jean  Savage,  VP  Surface  Mining  and  Technology said.

Sales  of  giant  yellow  machinery  began  climbing  last  year,  following  steep  declines  between  2012  and  2016  that  forced  a  major  restructuring.  The  company  has  repeatedly  revised  annual  revenue  and  profit  projections  upward  as  quarterly  earnings  reports  have  beat  Caterpillar’s  and  analysts’  forecasts.  The  equipment  manufacturer  has  posted  record  quarterly  profit  figures  in  each  of  three  consecutive  reports  so  far  this year.

And  while  the  mining  sector  has  still  ways  to  go  in  terms  of  buying  new  machinery  as  opposed  to  only  upgrading  current  fleets,  Sudhanshu  Singh  said  most  of  the  sales  growth is  coming  from  the  copper  and  iron  ore  sectors,  and  —  increasingly  —  from  coal  producers,  given  the  increasing  number  of  expansion  projects  and  new  greenfield  developments.