Deere on Thursday said it was promoting John May to succeed Samuel Allen at the helm, tasking the new chief executive with navigating the tractor maker through tough agricultural conditions as the US-China trade war hits American farmers.
The company is effectively separating the roles of chairman and CEO, with Mr Allen to continue as chairman of the board of directors.
Mr May, 50, currently serves as president and chief operating officer and will become the company’s 10th chief executive in its 182-year history when he takes the helm in November.
He joined the company in 1997 and was named president of the company’s worldwide agriculture and turf division, with responsibility for the Americas and Australia. Earlier in his career he headed the company’s China operations among other positions.
“John’s record of success and proven leadership skills make him highly qualified to lead Deere and guide its success in the years ahead,” said Mr Allen. “His experience in precision agriculture, information technology, and overseas operations will be instrumental in driving the company’s digitalisation journey and extending its success in agricultural and construction equipment.”
Mr May will take the helm at a time when uncertainty around the US-China trade war has weighed on the Illinois-based company.
In August, Deere cut its full-year earnings outlook for the second time in four months as the trade row weighs on American farmers, after Beijing told its state-owned enterprises to halt their purchases of US agricultural goods earlier this month.
Mr May will have a base salary of $1.2m, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He will join the board effective immediately.
Deere shares, which were up less than 3 per cent year-to-date as of Wednesday’s close, rose 2.5 per cent to $156.35.