Caterpillar Finance Chief, Other Managers, to Leave

Caterpillar Inc. Chief Financial Officer Dave Burritt and four other top managers will leave June 1 as incoming Chief Executive Officer Douglas Oberhelman begins to put his stamp on the largest maker of construction equipment.

Burritt, 54, will be replaced by Ed Rapp, currently the group president overseeing financial products, building construction products and legal services, the company said today in a statement. Rapp, 53, will report to the CEO and oversee several of the corporate-services divisions.

The company is reducing the total number of top executives to 35 from 39, with the number of group presidents decreasing to five from six. Oberhelman, who takes over for James Owens as CEO in July and as chairman later this year, says he wants to make the company leaner and more responsive.

“Characteristically, with most companies, CEOs like to pick their own CFOs,” said Eli Lustgarten, an analyst for Longbow Securities in Independence, Ohio. “It’s not uncommon.”

Burritt wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Caterpillar last month raised its forecast for 2010 profit and sales as the economy begins to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Also departing are vice presidents Jim Waters, 52, of production, Mark Pflederer, 53, of electronics and machine systems, Dan Murphy, 62, of purchasing and Rod Beeler, 53, of marketing and product support, the company said. All had been with Caterpillar more than 30 years and are retiring, the company said.

Oberhelman will not be replaced as group president once he becomes CEO effective July 1. The company is cutting the number of traditional corporate divisions to 29 from 32.

Caterpillar fell 74 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $65.96 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have risen 16 percent this year.

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