By Matt Jeanneret, deputy chief operating officer, ARTBA

Caterpillar Inc. April 9 announced the retirement of Group President Rob Charter after a nearly 30-year distinguished career.  Since 2015, Charter has led Customer & Dealer Support (C&DS).

“During his three decades with Caterpillar, Rob has built a reputation for his focus and unwavering commitment to helping our customers succeed,” CEO Jim Umpleby said. “Rob’s global perspective – he’s held positions in Asia, Latin America, the United States and in his home country of Australia – is just one reason he’s a valuable member of our executive leadership team.  We wish him a long and happy retirement.”

Charter’s retirement is effective June 1, 2018. The company expects to announce a replacement in the near future.

Charter joined Caterpillar in 1989 as a development engineer in Melbourne. Early in his career, he worked in service training, machine sales and service, mining product support, manufacturing, construction, quarry and forestry. He was also a district manager in Australia. Charter’s next leadership position was with Caterpillar’s Asia Pacific Division in Tokyo as product manager. In 2005, he was appointed southern region manager in Caterpillar’s Latin America Division, a position he held until 2008 when the Caterpillar board of directors named him vice president of the Asia Pacific Distribution Services Division. He held this position until January 2013 when he was appointed as vice president of the Excavation Division.

Charter was elected ARTBA vice chairman at-large in 2016.  He served as co-chair, along with Martin Marietta Materials CEO Ward Nye, of ARTBA’s “Project 2019” Task Force.  Charter hosted a July 2016 meeting at Caterpillar’s headquarters of the industry’s top chief executives to discuss the future of the federal surface transportation programs.  The product of that day-long Task Force meeting was the development of an innovative proposal to double federal surface transportation investment by 2026 by providing a sustainable, use-backed revenue stream into the Highway Trust Fund.

“Rob Charter’s leadership role on the Task Force is a case study in how to bring together a diverse group of executives, engage them in thoughtful dialogue, and emerge with a consensus plan that advances the industry’s interests,” ARTBA President Pete Ruane said.  “His outstanding volunteer service and many contributions to the association will be missed.”

Charter summed up his experience at Caterpillar, saying: “I’ve had an extraordinary career and am grateful for the opportunity to have served our customers for the past three decades.  I’m honored to have led some remarkable teams. And, over two-thirds of my time at Caterpillar was spent working alongside what I still believe is one of the company’s greatest competitive advantages – our dealer network. My wife, Tammy, and I look forward to returning home to Australia and spending more time with our family.”