Effective immediately, Mr Mühlhäuser’s time at CNH was a short 18 months (appointed as CEO in September 2018) and the announcement of his departure comes in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19), which has forced the company to shut down all of its European assembly plants for two weeks.
Suzanne Heywood has been appointed as acting CEO to lead the business through this current unprecedented period and until a new permanent CEO has been identified. “The board and our entire leadership are united in our determination to ensure that CNH Industrial emerges even stronger from the huge challenges of the days, weeks and months ahead,” said Suzanne Heywood.
Born in Britain in 1969, Lady Heywood is managing director of Exor, CNH Industrial’s largest shareholder, and has been chair of CNH Industrial since July 2018. Also, a board member of the Economist and a non-executive director of Chanel, in her combined role, she will chair the group’s global executive committee to provide the business with leadership during the coming months.
Meeting under her leadership, the board unanimously agreed on the appointment of Oddone Incisa as CFO of CNH Industrial, in addition to his current role as president, financial services.
The board also confirmed its continued strong support for the group’s ‘Transform 2 Win’ strategy. Devised under Mr Mühlhäuser’s leadership, the five-year plan, which runs until 2024, will see the agricultural and construction divisions combined in a new off-highway company.
It will also result in increased levels of differentiation between the Case IH, New Holland and Steyr tractor brands, the latter of which will be re-positioned as a premium European short-liner.
A new sub-100hp global platform tractor is also in development, and the company is looking to grow its combine harvester business, reduce its manufacturing footprint and consolidate its dealer network.
The board reiterated that the group’s robust finances remain one of the key strengths of CNH Industrial, as they have been in the past when successfully weathering storms and dislocations and the first quarter results will be announced as planned on May 6, 2020.