Columbus, Ind.-based Cummins Inc. this week announced the retirement of Tim Solso, 64, the company’s chairman and CEO since 2000. Solso will be succeeded by Tom Linebarger, Cummins president and chief operating officer. Linebarger, 48, has been with Cummins 17 years, and was formerly president of Cummins Power Generation and served as the company’s chief financial officer. He will assume his new role on Jan. 1, 2012.
During Solso’s tenure, the company’s market capitalization has grown tenfold and Cummins has been recognized for its leadership in emissions reduction technologies and related environmental activities, financial performance and corporate responsibility, as well as diversity and human rights issues. Solso will continue in his role through Dec. 31 to ensure a smooth transition between the two leaders.
“The time has come to say thank you and best wishes to an extraordinary business leader and a wonderful human being,” said Alexis Herman, lead director of the Cummins board of directors and chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee. “Tim has led the company through many years of record performance and outstanding shareholder returns. He championed Cummins’ international growth and the importance of a diverse workforce. Equally impressive has been his unwavering focus on corporate responsibility and making a difference in the communities where Cummins does business.
“In Tom Linebarger we have an individual who shares the same qualities of leadership and commitment to Cummins’ values as his predecessors. He has extensive experience in the operational and financial aspects of the company.”
Solso joined Cummins in 1971 as assistant to the vice president of personnel and later moved into the operations side of the business. During his career, he has worked in various global locations, including Huddersfield, England, and Sao Paolo, Brazil. After 29 years in the business, he was named chairman and CEO in 2000.
During Solso’s tenure, Cummins’ company sales grew from $6.6 billion in 2000 to $13.2 billion in 2010 and its shareholders enjoyed a total return of 1300 percent. The company had two stock splits, four dividend increases and bought back $1 billion worth of Cummins’ stock. In addition, Cummins international business grew from 40 percent of sales in 2000 to more than 60 percent in 2010, including more than 50 joint venture partnerships around the world.
“Cummins’ future is very promising and no one is better qualified to lead the company during the exciting times ahead than Tom Linebarger,” Solso said. “He has the energy, experience and business know-how Cummins needs to compete in our markets around the world.”
Linebarger joined Cummins in 1994 and served in various roles, including as managing director of Cummins Turbo Technologies and vice president of the Engine Business’ Supply Chain Management before being named chief financial officer in 2000. Linebarger moved to the position of president of Power Generation in 2003 and quickly helped return that business to profitability. Today, Power Generation is at record levels in sales growth and profitability and is expanding its businesses globally.
He was named president and chief operating officer in 2008.
Linebarger will be only the sixth executive to lead the company since it was founded in 1919.
Cummins Inc. is a corporation of complementary business units that design, manufacture, distribute and service engines and related technologies, including fuel systems, controls, air handling, filtration, emission solutions and electrical power generation systems.