Caterpillar group presidents retire

Rich Lavin and Gerard Vittecoq step down after a combined 65 years at Caterpillar.

October 12, 2012
Supplier News

Following a combined 65 years of outstanding service and contributions to the company, Caterpillar Inc. announced Group Presidents Rich Lavin and Gerard Vittecoq have elected to retire. Lavin is a Caterpillar group president with responsibility for construction industries & growth markets. Vittecoq is a group president with responsibility for energy & power systems. The company also announced that Caterpillar’s board of directors has appointed current Group President and CFO Ed Rapp as Lavin’s replacement. Brad Halverson will replace Rapp as a group president and CFO and Jim Umpleby has been appointed to replace Vittecoq as group president for energy & power systems.

“We will be saying goodbye to fantastic leaders with these retirements, but we have a deep and talented group of Caterpillar executives,” said Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman. “I am confident our new leaders will build on the work of their predecessors as we move toward our 2015 goals and beyond.”

“Rich has provided remarkable leadership and strategic vision for Caterpillar and will leave an indelible legacy behind for the work he has done to grow our operations and presence in key developing markets, particularly in Asia,” Oberhelman said. “I want to extend well deserved congratulations to Rich for all he has done for our business and wish him a long and happy retirement."

Lavin joined Caterpillar in 1984 as an attorney in what is now the law and public policy division. He was appointed to Caterpillar’s executive office in 2007 and moved to Hong Kong, where he was the first Caterpillar executive officer to reside and work in Asia. Lavin’s work in this role has had a significant impact on enhancing the company’s brand and reputation in this region. Before becoming a group president, he was vice president of manufacturing operations for the Asia Pacific Division, serving as chairman of Shin Caterpillar Mitsubishi Ltd. (SCM)—now Caterpillar Japan Ltd. (CJL)—and chairman of Caterpillar (China) Investment Co., Ltd. Lavin was named a Caterpillar vice president in 2001, serving as human services division vice president until 2004 when he was named vice president with responsibility for Caterpillar’s Asia Pacific manufacturing operations. During his career, Lavin held senior executive and leadership positions in Hong Kong; Beijing, China; Bangalore, India and Tokyo, Japan. Previously, he was product manager in the track-type tractors division, director of corporate human relations and director of compensation and benefits.

“Over the course of his more than 37 years with Caterpillar, Gerard has built a reputation for mentoring and developing leaders from his home base in Geneva, Switzerland,” Oberhelman said. “Gerard was instrumental in providing executive leadership as we focused on improving product quality and a culture of safety by driving the integration of the Caterpillar Production System around the world. More recently, his leadership and guidance has been critical, as Caterpillar has significantly expanded its energy and power systems business with the key acquisitions of Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) and gas engine manufacturing MWM Holding GmbH (MWM). These acquisitions have expanded Caterpillar’s strategic businesses, and Gerard will be remembered for the leadership he provided as these businesses were added to Caterpillar.”

Vittecoq was appointed to Caterpillar’s executive office in 2003. He joined Caterpillar in 1975, holding various accounting and finance positions during his first six years with the company. In 1982, he was appointed finance representative and later assistant manager at Caterpillar Overseas S.A. (COSA). In 1985, he became comptroller for COSA. Vittecoq was appointed director of COSA strategy and planning in 1990. In 1995, he was promoted to managing director of Caterpillar France S.A. In 1998, Vittecoq became managing director of Caterpillar Belgium S.A. In 2001, he was appointed vice president with administrative responsibility for the Europe, Africa and the Middle East (EAME) Operations Division.

Caterpillar’s board of directors has appointed current Group President and CFO Ed Rapp as group president with responsibility for construction industries, replacing Lavin. As part of this transition, the Hong Kong-based headquarters office for Caterpillar’s Construction Industries group will relocate to Singapore, where Rapp will be based in his new role effective January 1, 2013.

Rapp has been a member of Caterpillar’s executive office since 2007. He was named a Caterpillar vice president in 2000, serving as the head of the EAME marketing division until 2004 when he was named vice president with responsibility for the building construction products division.

Rapp joined Caterpillar as a pricing analyst in 1979. Over the next several years, he held positions with increasing responsibility related to pricing, production scheduling, marketing, dealer development, manufacturing and product development. In the 1990s, he held positions as a district manager in San Francisco, the area manager in Johannesburg, South Africa, and then held several senior positions in Geneva, Switzerland, before being named a vice president with responsibility for EAME Marketing in 2000.

Caterpillar’s board of directors has elected Brad Halverson, currently a Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for finance services division, as chief financial officer (CFO) and group president of corporate services.

“During his 25 year career, Brad has built substantial deep expertise within our accounting and finance operations, working in positions of increasing responsibility in multiple business units in the United States and in Europe,” Oberhelman said. “In addition, Brad has held a number of accounting and finance roles at the corporate level that have helped to drive standard work and process improvements across this critical service business for our company. He has played an important role in our most recent strategic planning initiatives, providing key leadership to develop our metrics and plan for delivering total shareholder return. Together, this deep business unit and corporate experience in the field gives him an ideal perspective and background for the CFO role within our executive office,” Oberhelman added.

Halverson was named a vice president in 2010. He has had a variety of experiences of increasing responsibilities at Caterpillar. After auditing and tax experience with Price Waterhouse, he joined the company in 1988 as an accountant. In 1993, he moved to Geneva, Switzerland, as a strategy and planning consultant with Caterpillar Overseas S.A. He went on to become controller in Europe, responsible for Caterpillar’s financial reporting in EAME and returned to the United States in 1996 to manage general accounting and financial systems. From 1998 until 2002, Halverson provided financial leadership as a business resources manager in Caterpillar’s Engine Division and was named director of corporate business development before becoming corporate controller in December 2004.

Caterpillar’s board of directors has elected Jim Umpleby, currently vice president with responsibility for Solar Turbines, as a group president with responsibility for Caterpillar’s energy & power systems business.

“With more than 30 years of leadership experience with Solar Turbines and Caterpillar, Jim brings extensive knowledge and understanding of the global energy and power systems industry to our executive office,” Oberhelman said. “Jim understands the highly complex and global nature of the customers we serve in the energy, rail and power industries. As the leader of our Solar Turbines business, he has demonstrated results in a global business, serving customers in the oil and gas and power generation industries. Jim’s deep expertise in these industries and his demonstrated success as the vice president for Solar Turbines make him an ideal leader for our energy & power systems group.”

Umpleby was named a Caterpillar vice president and the president of Solar Turbines in 2010. During his career with Solar, he has worked around the world in positions with increasing responsibilities in engineering, manufacturing, sales and customer services.

Umpleby joined Solar Turbines in 1980 as an associate engineer. Over the course of the next decade with Solar, he held a number of engineering and sales positions including assignments in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In 1994, he became the director of power systems operations and facility manager of Solar’s Kearny Mesa gas turbine packaging facility. In 1997, he became a Solar vice president with responsibility for customer services and in 2000 was named Solar vice president for Turbomachinery Products. In 2005, Umpleby assumed responsibilities as a general manager for global services for Caterpillar, a Peoria-based assignment in Caterpillar’s Product Support Division. He was named Solar’s vice president for oil and gas in 2007.