John Deere appoints new Managing Director
By Steve Mitchell
After 37 years of dedicated service to John Deere, Alec McKee has chosen to retire at the end of December 2005. He will be replaced as managing director of John Deere Limited by Richard Johnson, as of January 1, 2006.
After gaining an NDA from Harper Adams Agricultural College in 1967, and an NDAgrE from Writtle College of Agriculture in 1968, Alec McKee worked for four years with a John Deere distributor in Zambia.
He joined John Deere Limited in 1972 as a trainee territory manager, becoming business management adviser, credit manager and commercial manager. He was subsequently appointed general sales manager in 1991 and managing director in 1993.
At the end of 2000, Alec left the UK & Ireland branch for the position of vice-president, worldwide marketing for Deere & Company in Lenexa, Kansas, and in 2002 he was appointed vice-president, Russia Operations. In this capacity, Alec was instrumental in establishing a John Deere office in Moscow, as well as developing and implementing a dealer network and strategic business plan for the company in Russia. Alec then returned to the UK as managing director in 2004.
Richard Johnson will take over responsibility for directing the activities of the UK and Ireland branch, including both the agricultural and commercial & consumer equipment (C&CE) divisions.
Richard joined John Deere Limited in 1988 as a sales trainee after graduating from Harper Adams with an HND in Agricultural Engineering. He then became a C&CE territory manager, firstly for Scotland and Ireland, and then for the east and north west of England. He subsequently worked as homeowner equipment product manager and as business development manager for the UK and Ireland.
In 2001, Richard moved to Deere & Company's European Office in Mannheim, Germany as manager, customer acquisition & marketing support, and subsequently manager, parts & service marketing for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In 2004, Richard rejoined John Deere Limited in his current position as southern division sales manager.
"Alec's broad business experience in Europe, Russia, and North America and his extensive knowledge of dealer operations will be greatly missed," commented James A Israel, Deere & Company's vice-president, marketing & product support for Europe, Africa & the Middle East, when the announcements were made.
"While wishing Alec and his wife Maureen a happy and healthy retirement, we also welcome Richard Johnson to his new role. Richard brings strong commercial and leadership skills to this position, and we look forward to having him as part of John Deere's European management team."
The photograph shows Richard Johnson (left) and Alec McKee at the John Deere Limited headquarters in Langar, Nottingham.