Host Ed Sutkowski interviews the CEOs of Caterpillar Inc. who led the company out of its most difficult financial years to help it become one of the most successful companies in the world. In this episode, Ed talks with Donald Fites, Chairman and CEO from June 1990 until his retirement in February 1999.
Don hails from a 90-acre farm in Tippecanoe, Indiana. As a senior, he graduated first in his high school class of 8 students. A degree in Civil Engineering from Valparaiso University was followed by the MIT Sloan Fellows Program and honorary degrees from Wabash College and Purdue, Valparaiso and Bradley Universities. Don was named CEO of the Year by Financial World (1995) and Executive of the Year by the Executives’ Club of Chicago. Don looks at his past and shares his future goals with Ed.
As Caterpillar Inc. CEO and Chair from June 1990 to his retirement in February 1999, Don implemented strategic initiatives that strengthened Caterpillar’s global industry leadership, led to record revenues and profits and positioned the company for growth and continued financial success. Under his direction (year-end results 1990 through 1998), sales and revenues increased 83% to $20.98 billion and profits increased more than seven-fold to $1.51 billion.
Don served as a member of the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations under Ronald Reagan, George H. Bush and Bill Clinton.