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Caterpillar CEO Oberhelman to give Whiteman Lecture

Barry McNamara
12/21/2011
Douglas R. Oberhelman, chairman and chief executive officer of Caterpillar Inc., will deliver Monmouth College’s annual Wendell Whiteman Memorial Lecture on April 2 at 11 a.m. in the Dahl Chapel and Auditorium. 

"On this, the 20th anniversary since the lecture was established, we are pleased to have Doug Oberhelman as our speaker," said Ralph Whiteman, on behalf of the Whiteman family. "This is particularly gratifying because our initial speaker in 1992 was Lee Morgan, who was then also CEO of Caterpillar. The company makes a considerable global impact from its Midwestern location, and that ties in perfectly to Monmouth College’s current Midwest Matters initiative."

Oberhelman joined Caterpillar in 1975 and held a variety of positions in his first two decades with the company, including posts in South America and Japan. He was elected a vice president in 1995, serving as Caterpillar’s chief financial officer from 1995 to 1998, when he became vice president with responsibility for the Engine Products Division.

Oberhelman was elected a group president and member of Caterpillar’s executive office in 2002. In 2009, Caterpillar’s board of directors named Oberhelman vice chairman and CEO-elect. During that time, he led a team that developed the future strategic plan for the company. Oberhelman was elected CEO and a member of the board of directors in 2010 and became chairman effective later that year.

Recently, Caterpillar announced a record-breaking year in 2011, with sales and revenue of $60.1 billion, an increase of 41 percent from 2010. Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company also is a leading services provider.
Oberhelman has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Millikin University and has served as chairman of its board of trustees. He is currently a director for the boards of Eli Lilly and Company and the Illinois chapter of The Nature Conservancy. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Manufacturing Institute and the Wetlands America Trust.

The Whiteman Lecture Series brings prominent leaders of American business and industry to the Monmouth College campus. It is named in memory of Wendell Whiteman, an alumnus of the college and long-time executive of Security Savings Bank in Monmouth.

"We have been very impressed with the outstanding quality of recent speakers," said Whiteman, alluding to a group that has also included Monmouth College graduates John Courson and Kevin Goodwin and Monmouth native Steven Skinner. Goodwin, the CEO of SonoSite, was in the news earlier this month when his company was sold to Fujifilm for $995 million.