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Caterpillar shareholders conduct business in Corinth
by Jebb Johnston
Jun 11, 2014 | 104 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Douglas Oberhelman (right) speaks with Vic Mills, a skilled technician and tour guide at the Cardinal Drive remanufacturing facility, during Wednesday’s annual meeting of shareholders at Crossroads Arena.
Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Douglas Oberhelman (right) speaks with Vic Mills, a skilled technician and tour guide at the Cardinal Drive remanufacturing facility, during Wednesday’s annual meeting of shareholders at Crossroads Arena.
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Caterpillar stockholders voted on several proposals and heard comments from Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Douglas Oberhelman in Wednesday’s annual meeting held in Corinth.

Gov. Phil Bryant attended the session at Crossroads Arena along with Caterpillar executives and the board of directors, which includes well-known names such as John Huntsman Jr., a former ambassador to Singapore and China who ran for president in 2012.

Oberhelman welcomed stockholders to “one of the most fascinating cities with one of the most fascinating Caterpillar facilities in the world.”

He said the Corinth remanufacturing plant is the largest facility of its type in any industry in the world.

“We’re proud of that, and it’s one of the reasons we chose to hold our annual stockholders meeting here,” said Oberhelman.

Rachel Potts, a CAT spokeswoman, said the company likes to bring the stockholder meetings to the local companies to give stockholders a chance to see the operations. It is the first time the stockholder meeting has convened in Corinth.

Following the meeting, those in attendance were offered a tour of the Corinth facilities.

Stockholder votes included advisory approval of executive compensation and approval of the short-term and long-term incentive plans.

Voting shareholders rejected three stockholder proposals, two of which dealt with human rights concerns. One proposal requested that the board of directors review and amend policies as they relate to franchisees, licensees and agents that deal with Caterpillar products, while another urged the company to take additional steps to ensure that its products not be sold to the government of Sudan or entities controlled by it.

The board argues that an appropriate code of conduct and appropriate policies on business in Sudan are in place.

Financially, Oberhelman said the company has weathered some tough periods in 2009 and 2013 and currently enjoys its strongest balance sheet in 25 years. The company saw record operating cash flow for the machinery and power systems businesses of $9 billion in 2013.

He spoke about the company’s commitment to sustainability and the role of remanufacturing, which has put 500,000 tons of materials back into use rather than on the scrap heap during the past 10 years.

“How much is 500,000 tons? Our largest bulldozer, the D-11, weighs 151 tons — so it’s equivalent to about 4,300 D-11s,” said Oberhelman. “Or think about the Empire State building — it weighs 365,000 tons. We’ve returned that amount, plus another 135,000, and we’ve kept over 1 million tons of greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere through remanufacturing alone.”

In addition to board members Huntsman and Oberhelman, stockholders reelected the slate of directors — David Calhoun, senior managing director of The Blackstone Group; Daniel Dickinson, managing partner of HCI Equity Partners; Juan Gallardo, chairman of Organizacion Cultiba; Jesse Greene Jr., instructor at Columbia Business School and former vice president of financial management and chief financial risk officer of IBM; Peter Magowan, former president and managing general partner of the San Francisco Giants and former chairman and CEO of Safeway; Dennis Muilenburg, vice chairman, president and COO of The Boeing Company; William Osborn, chairman and CEO of The Northern Trust Corporation; Edward Rust Jr., chairman, CEO and president of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company; Susan Schwab, professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, strategic advisor for Mayer Brown LLP and former U.S. trade representative; and Miles White, chairman and CEO of Abbott Laboratories.

Based in Peoria, Ill., Caterpillar employs about 1,300 full-time workers in its Mississippi facilities, which include locations in Corinth, Booneville, Oxford, Water Valley and Olive Branch.
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