PEORIA, Ill., Oct. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Following the previous announcement that two group presidents are retiring and new responsibilities for another group president, Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) today announced related changes at the vice president level, including the retirement of Vice Presidents Bill Springer and Gary Stampanato. Bill Springer RetirementAfter more than 39 years with Caterpillar, Bill Springer, vice president of the Diversified Products Division, has elected to retire. Springer's retirement will be effective February 1, 2013. "During a career spanning four decades, Bill has developed a reputation for finding innovative solutions for our customers," said Steve Wunning, Caterpillar group president with responsibility for Resource Industries." His demonstrated leadership and passion for supporting our customers is the hallmark of his career." Springer joined Caterpillar in 1973. Early in his career, Springer worked in various parts and service marketing positions, including six years where he worked extensively with Caterpillar dealers in Latin America and the Middle East. In 1979, Springer returned to Peoria, Ill., and spent the next 10 years in a variety of product support development and marketing roles, including marketing manager for the Cat Service Technology Group. In 1989, he was named general manager for Cat Export Services, a parts distribution organization responsible for handling customers' direct export parts orders. Three years later, Springer accepted the position of district manager with Caterpillar of Australia, where he worked closely with dealer senior management and large international customers. In 1998, he became president of Caterpillar Logistics Services, Inc., responsible for all third-party logistics clients. Springer was elected vice president with responsibility for the Product Support Division in 2002. In 2009, he became vice president with responsibility for the Quarry and Specialty Industries Division. In 2010, he was named to his current position, vice president with responsibility for the Diversified Products Division. Gary Stampanato RetirementAfter 35 years with Caterpillar, Gary Stampanato, vice president of the Excavation Division, has elected to retire. Stampanato's retirement will be effective February 1, 2013. "During an outstanding career with Caterpillar, Gary has earned a reputation as an innovative and creative leader with a deep level of expertise in manufacturing processes and excellence," said Rich Lavin, Caterpillar group president with responsibility for Construction Industries & Growth Markets. "Most recently, Gary has been instrumental in growing Caterpillar's global excavator manufacturing footprint and business, which positions the company for market leadership with this important product," Lavin added. Since joining Caterpillar in 1978 as part of Caterpillar's College Training & Management Development program, Stampanato has held numerous positions, including a variety of manufacturing-related positions. In 1989, he was named product development manager for large mining equipment at Caterpillar's Decatur, Ill., facility. He also served as product manager for large wheel loaders and general manager for the hydraulics/fabrications business unit before being named general manager of the Large Engine Center in Lafayette, Ind. In 2006, Caterpillar's Board of Directors named Stampanato vice president with responsibility for the Infrastructure Product Development Division and then in January 2009, vice president of the Excavation Division. Qihua Chen Appointed Vice President of China Operations DivisionCaterpillar has a long history in the Chinese market, and as China's economy has developed and matured over the last several decades, the company and its dealers have made significant investments to grow operations and customer support facilities. Caterpillar's success in China is defined as one of its "Big 8" strategic imperatives critical for Caterpillar to achieve its 2015 strategy. Because of this, the company has created a new, Beijing-based executive position, and today the company announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Qihua Chen as a Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for China Operations. Chen will also assume the role of country manager for Caterpillar in China. "For the last several years, Qihua has been the general manager for Caterpillar's flagship manufacturing facility in China, Caterpillar Xuzhou Ltd. (CXL)," said Ed Rapp, who as was previously announced will become group president with responsibility for Construction Industries effective January 1, 2013. "Under Qihua's leadership at CXL, the facility has made dramatic improvements in productivity, while also significantly increasing its capacity and improving machine quality. In fact, CXL is the Caterpillar facility that we benchmark for internal improvements at other facilities," Rapp added. In this new executive role, Chen will have responsibility for interface between Caterpillar and key Chinese government leaders, as well as representing the company on industry issues in China. In addition, Chen will continue to have a significant role as a member of the board of directors of Siwei, a Chinese underground coal mining equipment company recently acquired by Caterpillar. Chen will also have accountability for two of Caterpillar's major construction machinery facilities in China, located in Xuzhou and Suzhou. "The success of these facilities will play a critical part in Caterpillar's overall China strategy, and I am confident that Qihua Chen is the best person to succeed in this new role," Rapp added. Chen, a native of China, has been with Caterpillar for 18 years. He has held a range of manufacturing positions with increasing responsibility in China. He played a critical role leading the integration of Shandong Engineering Machinery (SEM), a wholly-owned Chinese wheel loader manufacturer acquired by Caterpillar. In addition, Chen was based at Caterpillar's Technical Center in Mossville, Ill., from 1999 through 2003. He holds a bachelor's degree from Shandong Industry University and a master's degree in business administration from the China Europe International Business School. He also completed the Stanford University Executive Program. He is a director of the China Construction Machinery Association and is vice president of the Jiangsu Foreign Investment Association. Chen will assume his new position effective January 1, 2013. New Responsibilities for Vice Presidents Rob Charter, Paolo Fellin, Gwenne Henricks and Tana UtleyIn keeping with Caterpillar's history and custom of providing continuous leadership and career development opportunities, Caterpillar's Board of Directors has approved changes in responsibilities for current Caterpillar Vice Presidents Rob Charter, Paolo Fellin, Gwenne Henricks and Tana Utley. These changes will be effective January 1, 2013. Following the announcement of the retirement of Gary Stampanato, vice president of the Excavation Division, Caterpillar's Board of Directors has appointed Rob Charter, vice president of the Asia Pacific Distribution Division, to replace Stampanato. Charter was first named a Caterpillar vice president in 2009. Charter joined Caterpillar in 1989 as a development engineer in Melbourne, Australia, his native country. Over the years, he's worked closely with dealers in Asia, Australia and Latin America. He also has experience in product management, including his role as product manager in Tokyo. In 2005, he was named a regional manager in Caterpillar's Latin America Division. Charter holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Ballarat University in Victoria, Australia, and has completed the Stanford University Executive Program. Caterpillar's Board of Directors has appointed Paolo Fellin, currently Caterpillar vice president for the EAME Distribution Division, as vice president of the newly created Construction Industries Sales & Marketing Division. This newly created division will leverage and build on the excellent work and results that have been delivered by the existing organization within Caterpillar. The objective of the division will be consistent with the company's business model to grow a large base of machinery population and to increase the company's global leadership position for construction machinery. The new division will be located in Geneva, Switzerland, where Fellin is currently based and will report to Ed Rapp. "As we evaluated our key objectives for meeting our 2015 goals and beyond, it became clear that this part of our organization should be elevated to the division level and be led by an experienced vice president," Rapp said.