Cummins Names Freeland New Engine Chief

Cummins Inc. has named Rich Freeland as the next president of the company’s Engine Business operation. Freeland, currently president – Components Business, will succeed Jim Kelly, whose planned departure from his current role was announced by Cummins earlier this week.

The company also announced that Anant Talaulicar will succeed Freeland as president of the Components Business while continuing to serve as managing director of Cummins India. The Components Business of consists of four operations: Cummins Filtration, Cummins Turbo Technologies, Cummins Emission Solutions and Cummins Fuel Systems.

According to Cummins, Kelly revised his plans to retire and will stay on with Cummins Inc. to lead a number of cross-business strategic projects in 2010. Both Freeland and Talaulicar will assume their new roles in March.

The news release Cummins issued on elevating Freeland and Talaulicar clearly telegraphs the company’s confidence that they will be able to build on the strong foundations already in place at the major business units they will direct.

Under Kelly’s leadership, the Engine Business has come through the upheaval of having to meet multiple emissions targets while its domestic customer base was shrinking, all while dealing with the global recession and endeavoring successfully to expand its international engine and component presence.

Analyst Eli Lustgarten of Longbow Research told FleetOwner that while he was “not quite sure what precipitated the change [in leadership], there is a lot of depth in that organization [to draw on].” He also pointed out that the appointments make sense as Cummins has recognized “the maturity of the North American market and knows its growth opportunities are overseas, especially as emission standards become more standard across the globe. {Emission regs] has also meant that ultimately components have become a more important part of the company’s business both domestically and globally.”

“I got to say that it amazes me that the years go by and the people change, but Cummins does seem to have this deep reservoir of talented people to bring up,” analyst George Zirnhelt, president & CEO of Power Systems Research, told FleetOwner.

He also pointed out the contribution the Components Business is making is reflected in the announcement. “Components have become very important to them and are growing fast, especially overseas. Cummins has clearly taken on the challenge of penetrating developing [foreign] markets. And it’s not easy to sell a $12 Cummins filter in Thailand” for example.

“It is striking how different the environment is at Cummins than [at other players] in the industry,” Zirnhelt remarked. “ It does not feel like they have slowed down a bit” despite the economy. Turning to Jim Kelly moving onto a new role, he noted that it is not unusual for Cummins to keep senior executives on tap for special products. “I suspect we will see more of Jim Kelly—especially because he has lots of manufacturing experience that Cummins may want to draw on.”

“Rich has done an outstanding job leading the Components Business and his breadth of experience leading multiple business units, as well as the depth of his prior work in our engine-related businesses will serve him well in his new role,” said Cummins president & COO Tom Linebarger. “Anant is a strong leader with significant success at growing Cummins’ business in international markets, which will be invaluable as he expands his responsibilities.”

Freeland, 52, joined Cummins in 1979 and has held a variety of operational and leadership roles in the Engine, Distribution and Components businesses. He took over the Components Business in February 2008.
Cummins said that under Freeland’s leadership, the Components Business has improved its profitability, strengthened its processes and done an outstanding job of developing new products, especially those related to meeting the 2010 EPA emissions regulations in the United States.

Prior to his role with the Components Business, Freeland ran the Distribution Business from 2005-2008, during which time it became a significant contributor to the company’s profitability, said Cummins. He also has held leadership roles in the PowerCare, Fuel Systems, Purchasing and Heavy Duty Operations organizations, and served as Plant Manager at the Columbus Engine Plant from 1996-2000.

Freeland, who is based at Cummins headquarters in Columbus, IN, holds a Bachelor’s in Industrial Management from Purdue University and an MBA from Indiana University.

Talaulicar, 48, joined Cummins in 1986 and has led Cummins’ India operations since September 2004. Under his leadership, Cummins said its business in India nearly tripled in the past five years, with total consolidated and unconsolidated sales reaching almost $1.8 billion in 2008. He has held a number of leadership roles in Power Generation while at Cummins, serving as gm of the Commercial and Consumer lines of business for the Americas. He also has worked in the Corporate Strategy group, and has held finance, manufacturing and general management roles in Engine Business.

Talaulicar holds a Bachelor’s in Engineering from India’s Mysore University and Master’s degrees from the University of Michigan and Tulane University. He will split his time between Columbus, IN, and Pune, India.

“Rich and Anant are talented leaders who understand our markets and have all the skills necessary to help Cummins position itself for future success,” Linebarger added. “I am confident they will make a smooth transition into their new roles as we continue to focus on emerging from the current economic downturn an even stronger company.”

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