Wednesday, 10 May 2017 08:24

Visionary built global giant

Written by  Mark Daniel
Robert Ratcliff. Robert Ratcliff.

A well-known figure in world agricultural engineering has recently died.

Robert J. Ratcliff, the founder, president and chairman of global tractor and machinery giant AGCO, acted on a vision to supply the needs of farmers worldwide.

His vision is said to have led him and his management team to buy Deutz-Allis Corporation in 1990, sowing the seeds for the AGCO business we know today.

In 1994 AGCO bought the worldwide holdings of tractor stalwart Massey Ferguson, and in 1997 the high-tech tractor maker Fendt. In 2002 Ratcliff led the acquisition of Caterpillar’s tracked tractor business Challenger, then snapped up Valtra in 2004, so consolidating its position in Europe and South America.

During his tenure Robert Ratcliff took the company from a turnover of $US200 million in 2000 to a lofty $US5.4 billion in 2005. He retired in 2006, having acquired 21 businesses along the way.

He was a hands-on leader who strongly supported employees, their interests and goals; likewise the dealers, from whom he regularly gathered feedback.

The current chairman, president and chief executive, Martin Richenhagen, says “Bob Ratcliff’s vision, leadership and dedication took AGCO to the heights that it occupies today; he will be greatly missed and our thoughts go out to his entire family.”


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