The board of Deere & Co. last week named Samuel Allen, president of the company’s construction and forestry equipment business, the company’s next CEO, succeeding Robert Lane, beginning in August. As part of the transition, Allen was appointed chief operating officer and president effective immediately, and was named to the company’s board. Lane will continue to serve as chairman of the board until Allen’s eventual succession to that role.
“The Deere board has completed an 18-month systematic process to choose Deere’s ninth chief executive officer in its 172-year history,” said Lane. “The board recognizes, as I do, that Sam is a superb, smart, ethical executive, a wise and uncommonly capable leader, and someone with the proven experience and ability to effectively lead John Deere in growing a great, sustainable, global business.”
Allen began his Deere career as an engineer in 1975 and has worked in a number of management positions. Allen has been president of the Worldwide Construction & Forestry Division since 2005 and has been responsible for the global operations of John Deere Power Systems since 2003. He has been a senior officer of the company since 2001, with early senior leadership responsibilities in human resources and industrial relations and the oversight of John Deere Credit’s global operations. Allen has also been responsible for the John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group and Deere’s Advanced Technology and Innovation. He managed operations in Latin America, East Asia and Australia for Deere’s worldwide agricultural division.
During Allen’s tenure as president of its construction division, the company has grown internationally. In February 2008, Deere acquired a 50 percent ownership stake in China’s Xuzhou Xuwa Excavator Machinery Co. Deere is now believed to be the third-largest manufacturer of excavators in China.
Lane has been CEO and chairman since August 2000. The company has enjoyed strong growth in revenue and profits during his tenure. According to analysts, he will be best remembered for operational reforms focusing on the relationship between Deere’s income and production costs.
Some industry sources, such as Frank Manfredi of Manfredi & Associates, believe the promotion of Allen is linked to plans to expand Deere’s construction and forestry business in the near future. “I expect there to be a massive international expansion of the Deere C&F business in the next couple of years that will require the chairman to have a pretty intimate knowledge of that business,” said Manfredi.
The appointment of Allen set in motion a number of other senior executive moves. Michael Mack, senior vice president and chief financial officer since 2006 will take over Allen’s previous role as president of the Worldwide Construction & Forestry Division. James Field, who until recently served as president of the Worldwide Commercial & Consumer Division and before that as vice president and comptroller, was named senior vice president and CFO. The company named Jean Gilles, previously senior vice president of John Deere Power Systems, senior vice president, Deere Power Systems, John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group, and Advanced Technology and Innovation.
Deere & Co. is based in Moline, Ill.