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Deere CEO to Add Chairman to His Title as Samuel Allen Retires

March 2, 2020
John May took over from Allen as CEO last year.

Deere & Co. Chief Executive Officer John May will add chairman of the board to his list of duties as the giant tractor maker unifies the two roles again with the retirement of Samuel Allen.

May, who took over from Allen as CEO last year, was chosen to replace him as chairman effective May 1, the Moline, Illinois-based company said Monday in a statement. Allen is retiring after a 45-year career, including a decade as CEO.

Deere is taking another step in its leadership transition amid early signs of stabilization in the U.S. farm sector after years of low prices and trade and weather disruptions made farmers cautious on replacing large equipment. Still, the coronavirus outbreak is set to delay China’s return to U.S. agricultural markets as laid out in the first phase of a trade deal.

The company’s shares were up 2.3% at 11:03 a.m. in New York Monday. The stock has slumped 7% this year.

“This is an expected and planned leadership change,” Lawrence De Maria, an analyst at William Blair, said by email. “We do not expect a radical departure from the course that Mr. Allen set Deere on.”

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