JCB CEO Alan Blake announced his retirement from the company after nearly 25 years of service. Blake will remain as an advisor to JCB.

Blake became JCB CEO on Jan. 1, 2010, making him only the fifth person to hold the position in the company's history. Dozens of friends and colleagues gathered at the company’s world headquarters in Rocester, U.K., to say goodbye at a special presentation.

Graeme Macdonald took over as CEO Jan. 1.

“Alan has contributed a huge amount to the growth and success of JCB over many years," Macdonald said. "The expansion projects Alan led enabled JCB to double its production from 36,000 to 72,000 machines over a five-year period.

In addition to his vast achievements at JCB, he will also be remembered for his humility and for making time to speak to everyone, no matter what their rank or position and that’s something we are all going to miss.”

“Coming to JCB was one of the best decisions of my life," Blake said. "The breadth and width of what you can learn here is enormous, and the opportunity to achieve great things is endless.

I have been fortunate to have a great career here and one that has coincided with the global growth of the company. I have met and worked with some truly brilliant people all around the world and I will never forget my time at JCB.”

Blake joined JCB in 1989 from Somerset-based Westland Helicopters after a 19-year tenure at the company, which saw him rise through the ranks from apprentice to head of helicopter transmissions.

He joined JCB Transmissions in Wrexham in 1989 as operations director with responsibility for developing new transmissions for two of JCB’s two key products: the backhoe loader and Loadall telescopic handler.

Blake became JCB’s chief operating officer in 2009 before taking up his current position.

Blake and his wife Diane have two adult children.

JCB is based in the U.K., with U.S. headquarters in Savannah, Ga.