Caterpillar Visitors Center Debuts Leadership Moments Video of George Schaefer

The Caterpillar Visitors Center recently debuted a new “Leadership Moments” video in its Heritage Gallery of George Schaefer, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, in which he recounts his upbringing and career at Caterpillar.

“We are so thankful we have this footage of George Schaefer, one of the great leaders in Caterpillar’s history, within the collection of the Corporate Archives,” said Lee Fosburgh, Corporate Archivist who partnered in creating the video for the Heritage Gallery. “It is an honor to showcase his leadership moments at the Caterpillar Visitors Center.”

Born in Covington, Ky. in 1928, Schaefer received a Bachelor of Science degree from Saint Louis University in 1951. He joined Caterpillar that same year, initially working as a trainee in the accounting department. He held a series of accounting and auditing positions before being named chief accountant in 1960.

In 1968, he was named a corporate accounting division manager, and in 1973, he became the general manager of Caterpillar’s manufacturing facility in Decatur, Ill. In 1976, he was elected vice president with administrative responsibilities for the company’s financial and data processing groups. Schaefer was elected an executive vice president in 1981, a director in 1983 and a vice chairman in 1984.

Schaefer became chairman and chief executive officer in 1985. He retired from Caterpillar in 1990 following a distinguished 39-year career. Schaefer died the morning of April 10, 2013, in Peoria, Ill., at the age of 84.

“I’d like to be remembered as a CEO who made a contribution in his day to the company’s well-being…” says Schaefer in the video. “Who worked hard all of the time he was with the company and who was fair, honest and ethical in everything he did.”

The video is currently on display at the Caterpillar Visitors Center in Peoria, Ill. Plan your visit today at