Caterpillar Leader Jim Umpleby Recognized as International Executive of the Year

Wednesday, April 03, 2019
Jim Umpleby

The Executives’ Club of Chicago names alumnus and Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby its 2019 International Executive of the Year.

As chairman and chief executive officer of Caterpillar Inc., alumnus and trustee Jim Umpleby has become a mover and shaker to keep the Fortune 50 company at the forefront of technology and innovation in the highly competitive global marketplace.

Those efforts have are being recognized with Umpleby being named 2019 International Executive of the Year by The Executives’ Club of Chicago. He will accept the award May 15.

The annual award is the organization’s most prestigious honor. It recognizes an individual’s values-based leadership and significant contributions to its company and the global business community. Past award recipients include executives from The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever and Northern Trust.

Umpleby stated in a Caterpillar news release, “I am honored to accept the International Executive of the Year award on behalf of the entire team at Caterpillar. It is their drive, ingenuity and passion for serving our global customers that makes Caterpillar successful. I’m humbled to lead this great company.”

The 1980 mechanical engineering alumnus added responsibilities as Caterpillar’s chairman in late 2018 after being a member of the company’s board of directors and CEO since Jan. 1, 2017. He is leading the company’s execution of a new enterprise strategy to achieve profitable growth. The strategy is based on operational excellence and providing expanded offerings of products and services to Caterpillar’s customers on every continent.

Under Umpleby’s leadership Caterpillar has maintained its standing as the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. Sales and revenues for the company in the fourth quarter of 2018 were $14.3 billion, an 11 percent increase over the same period in 2017.

Umpleby’s association with the company goes back to his first job as an associate engineer with Solar Turbines, now a Caterpillar subsidiary, after earning his bachelor’s degree. During his career at Caterpillar, he has held a variety of positions in engineering, manufacturing, marketing, sales and services. He became president of Solar Turbines and a Caterpillar vice president in 2010, and from 2013 to 2016 was president of Caterpillar’s energy and transportation business segment.

Besides his bachelor’s degree, Umpleby has also earned an honorary doctorate in engineering in 2016 and returned to campus last May to address the 2018 graduating class. He told the graduates to “be brave, bold, open and compassionate – and build a better world," and always remember the personal relationships, family and friends that will be alongside them during every step of their careers.

Umpleby hasn’t forgotten his Rose-Hulman roots, contributing to the institute as a trustee since 2015. He received the Rose-Hulman Alumni Association’s Career Achievement Award in 2000.

In the business world, Umpleby has completed an executive leadership program at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland. He serves on the board of directors of the Chevron Corporation, the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum and the U.S.-China Business Council. He is also a member of the Latin America Conservation Council and the Business Roundtable.