Dismissal of Fabick Cat’s CEO and Chairman

The removal of Fabick Cat’s CEO and chairman was approved by Caterpillar resulting in a legal battle.

As per the St. Louis Business Journal’s report, Mr. Doug Fabick was dismissed as the Chairman and CEO of the company in early March. Fabick Cat is a family-owned Caterpillar dealership in Fenton, Missouri and Doug had been the company’s CEO since the year 2000.

Doug’s cousin, Jeré Fabick, has now been promoted to chairman, CEO, and dealer principal after serving as president and co-dealer principal from 2015. Jeré has been in the industry for forty years and is the third generation of the Fabick household to oversee the company.

Background of Fabick Cat

Doug’s great-grandfather, John Fabick Sr., established Fabick Cat in the year 1917 and it was declared the sole Caterpillar dealership for the St. Louis district by 1927.

Fabick Cat decided to merge with Fabco Equipment, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the year 2015. Doug Fabick was the president and COO of Fabick Cat at the time, whereas Jeré Fabick was the president and CEO of Fabco.

In Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Wisconsin, Fabick has over 1,200 employees across 37 different sites. In 2020, the organization generated over 1 billion dollars in revenue.

Caterpillar gets the last word on dealer succession plans, and according to court records they authorized Fabick Cat’s motion to remove Doug Fabick as the dealer principle on March 2.

The dismissal of the former CEO has since sparked a legal dispute. If Doug Fabick is ousted as the dealer principle, he must sell his 63 percent majority ownership in the company, as per a 2004 contract amongst Doug Fabick and Fabick Cat. According to the source, Doug Fabick has declined to yield his shares, claiming that he was not “fully ousted” as dealer principal.

Doug was served with a temporary restraining order in St. Louis County Circuit Court on March 14 on behalf of Fabick Cat. The ruling may oblige him to “sign the stock power, and to enjoin him from asserting any voting share of the business,” as per the source.

The communications manager of Fabick Cat shared her opinion on the matter, Kaitlin was quoted saying that “leadership transitions are part of business” and they are convinced that Fabick Cat will continue to thrive as it has for more than a century, despite executive changes.

Other management changes also include appointment of John Fabick to chairman and the return of John Kramer and Barry Klinckhardt as CFO and general counsel, respectively. Being a fourth-generation member of the business, John formerly served as senior vice president and has approximately 40 years of experience.

Kelli Fabick is John’s daughter and a fifth-generation family member, she has worked in the company for more than a decade now. Kelli’s involvement in the business will be expanded, with the eventual aim of enabling dealer transition through succession to another generation.