10 Things You Didn’t Know about Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby

Jim Umpleby is the CEO of Caterpillar, who rose to that particular position in January of 2017. He is a longstanding member of the corporation, but his rise has resulted in some significant changes, which so far, have been met with a positive response from much of the market for the most part. As a result, it will be interesting to see whether Umpleby can sustain that trend or not. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Jim Umpleby:

1. Doesn’t Quite Live Up to His Personal Name

It is amusing to note that Umpleby doesn’t quite live up to his personal name. This is because Jim is short for James, which can mean “one who follows.” Suffice to say that isn’t the best description for Umpleby, seeing as how he is the CEO of one of the most notable corporations on the planet.

2. His Family Name Is Toponymic in Nature

Generally speaking, people believe that Umpleby is a toponymic name. The problem is that no one is sure what place it is named for. One candidate is a village called Anlaby, which was named Umlouebi in the Domesday Book of the late 11th century. Another candidate is Uppleby, which used to be a village in its own right but has since been incorporated into the town called Easingwold.

3. Raised in Highland, IN

As a child, Umpleby was raised in a town called Highland, which can be found in the state of Indiana. With that said, it is interesting to note that the town is considered to be a part of the Chicago metropolitan area, which is big enough that it isn’t limited to the state of Illinois but encompasses parts of the state of Indiana as well.

4. Went to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Later, Umpleby went to the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, which was where he received his Bachelor’s degree. Like its name suggests, the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology specializes in teaching mathematics, engineering, and the sciences to interested individuals. It isn’t what most people would consider to be a large school, but it can claim an excellent reputation in its particular field of specialization.

5. Joined Caterpillar Because of a Buy-Out

Upon graduation, Umpleby joined Solar Turbines, which was a unit of International Harvester at the time. It wasn’t long before Caterpillar bought out the Solar Turbines unit, which continues to manufacture gas turbines for power generation as well as other industrial purposes.

6. Has an Interest in the Chinese Market

Umpleby has an interest in the Chinese market. This makes sense because Caterpillar has a considerable presence in the Chinese market, which has been responsible for a considerable portion of its revenues in recent times. In particular, it is worth mentioning that Caterpillar has managed to secure a lot of sales because of continuing Chinese interest in construction as well as infrastructure investment.

7. Had Positive Expectations for Caterpillar in the Chinese Market for 2018

In March of 2018, Umpleby conducted an interview stating that he had positive expectations for Caterpillar’s performance in the Chinese market in 2018. He paid particular attention to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which is an ambitious plan to build a land-based trade network connecting Asia with both Africa and Europe. Suffice to say that means a lot of infrastructure, which in turn, means a lot of opportunities for Caterpillar. However, it remains to be seen how Caterpillar will be impacted by the current trade war.

8. Has an Interest in the Indian Market

Besides China, Umpleby has an interest in the Indian market as well. For proof, look no further than the fact that he is on the board for the U.S.-India Business Council, which exists to encourage trade as well as investment links between the two countries.

9. Uses the Operating & Execution Model

In recent times, Caterpillar has been using what is being called the Operating & Execution Model. In short, it examines its operations to see which components produce and consume the most value so that the business can channel its limited resources into those where it possesses a competitive edge versus its competitors. So far, the model is producing handsome results, with Umpleby taking much of the credit for enforcing it throughout Caterpillar even though it was introduced in 2010.

10. Oversaw Headquarters Relocation to Chicago in 2017

In 2017, Umpleby oversaw the relocation of Caterpillar headquarters to Chicago. This was intended to capitalize on Chicago’s strategic location, which was particularly important because of Caterpillar’s expanding international business.


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