Growing the Future
Deere CEO Sam Allen gives back while looking forward
Purdue alumnus Sam Allen could be forgiven if his favorite colors were green and yellow instead of gold and black.
Chairman and CEO Sam Allen has worked for Deere and Co. since his graduation from Krannert in 1975. (Photo provided)
After all, Allen has worked for Deere & Co. –– the iconic American manufacturer of John Deere agricultural and other equipment –– since earning his bachelor of science degree in industrial management from the Krannert School in 1975.
He advanced through the ranks steadily, taking on positions of increasing responsibility in Deere’s consumer products, construction and forestry, power systems and worldwide agricultural divisions, including managing operations in Latin America, China and East Asia, and Australia.
A senior officer of the company since 2001, Allen was appointed president and CEO in 2009 and has served as chairman and CEO since 2010.
“When I had a chance to take over in this role, I said there would be three objectives by which everyone would judge our team and our success,” he says.
“One was that we fully realized our strategy to double the company’s sales and grow its profitability between 2010 and 2018. Two was that we were going to create an environment where all employees felt they could grow personally and professionally to their fullest. And three, we were going to give back to society commensurate with the good fortune that we have.”
After leading Deere to three consecutive years of record sales and profits, Allen is clearly on the way to meeting his first objective. The company’s goals for employee engagement and social responsibility also are making progress, and Allen is committed to furthering those efforts.
“There's nothing that will have more impact on John Deere's future than a supremely talented, committed and motivated workforce –– such as our 65,000 employees and leaders,” he says. “Everywhere we operate, we seek to attract the best talent, then to develop and deploy that talent for the ultimate benefit of our customers, investors and communities.”
Returning the favor
Allen, who is only the ninth CEO in Deere’s 177-year history, might not have developed and deployed his own talents with the company were it not for the sequence of events that brought him to Purdue and Krannert’s industrial management program.
A native of Kokomo, Ind., Allen worked as a caddie at the local country club as a teenager and played on his high school’s golf team. His talents on the course and in the classroom qualified him for a Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship from the Evans Scholars Foundation, which maintains chapter scholarship houses at more than a dozen universities in the Midwest, including Northwestern, Marquette, Indiana, Illinois and Purdue.