CATERPILLAR SAYS FORMER CHAIRMAN, CEO GEORGE SCHAEFER HAS DIED
(The following is a reformatted version of a statement issued by Caterpillar Inc., and received via electronic mail. The release was confirmed by the sender.)
Caterpillar Statement on the Death of Former Chairman and CEO, George Schaefer
The Caterpillar family mourns the death of former Caterpillar Chairman and CEO, George Schaefer, who died this morning in Peoria at the age of 84. Schaefer served as Chairman and CEO from 1985 until 1990. He retired from Caterpillar following a distinguished 39 year career.
“George Schaefer will be remembered as one of the great leaders in Caterpillar’s history. He pushed the company to move away from a centralized model to its current business unit structure during the late 1980s, a significant and difficult decision that positioned Caterpillar for the remarkable growth and success that has followed,” said Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman. “Under George’s leadership, we invested more than a $1 billion in the mid 1980s on Caterpillar’s Plant With a Future Program, and he was also responsible for the decision in 1986 to change the company’s name from Caterpillar Tractor Co. to Caterpillar Inc., retaining our heritage, but also recognizing that we had become much more than just a tractor company,’ Oberhelman added.
Born in Covington, Kentucky in 1928, Schaefer received a Bachelor of Science degree from Saint Louis University in 1951. He joined Caterpillar that same year, initially working as a trainee in the accounting department. He held a series of accounting and auditing positions before being named chief accountant in 1960. In 1968, he was named a corporate accounting division manager, and in 1973, he became the general manager of Caterpillar’s manufacturing facility in Decatur, Illinois. In 1976, he was elected a vice president with administrative responsibilities for the company’s financial and data processing groups. Schaefer was elected an executive vice president in 1981, a director in 1983, vice chairman in 1984 and he became chairman and chief executive officer in 1985.