Deere selects new CEO

Deere & Co., the world’s largest farm equipment maker, on Monday named Samuel R. Allen to succeed Robert W. Lane as the company’s chief executive. Allen, 55,

Deere & Co., the world’s largest farm equipment maker, on Monday named Samuel R. Allen to succeed Robert W. Lane as the company’s chief executive. Allen, 55, becomes only the ninth chief executive to lead the 172-year-old company known for its green-and-yellow tractors and harvesting machines. He moves into the job Aug. 1, when Lane, 59, steps down after nine years at the helm. The Moline, Ill.-based company has seen its fortunes fall in recent months as the global economic crisis undermines demand for its products. In May, the company reported a 38 per cent drop in second-quarter profit as farmers and other customers cut spending on tractors, mowers and construction equipment. It also slashed its profit forecast for the second time this year. Allen, a 34-year veteran of Deere, has been president of the company’s construction and forestry division since 2005. He has also been responsible for the global operations of its power systems group and has managed human resources, industrial relations and Deere’s global credit operations, the company said. Deere’s construction and forestry business has faltered with the broader economy, and the company has forecast a 42 per cent drop in the division’s sales in 2009 amid historically low levels of U.S. construction. But analysts have noted its construction equipment inventories are about half the industry average, suggesting the business has been run efficiently. The move took some analysts by surprise. Allen was chosen to become CEO after an 18-month selection process, according to Lane, whose decision to leave was “a personal choice,” said Deere spokesman Ken Golden. Golden said Lane has no intention of leading another company. “It’s been a very systematic process,” he said.

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