AGCO Corp. has announced the passing of its founder and former president, chairman and CEO, Robert J. Ratliff. Ratliff led the management team that purchased Deutz-Allis Corp. in 1990 as part of the formation of AGCO.’
Ratliff was born in Wichita, Kan. In 1931. He was a graduate of the University of Maryland. He began his career with International Harvester Co., spending 26 years with IH ending his tenure there as president of the IH Export Co. He also served as senior vice president of the Worldwide Truck Group.
In 1983, he joined Uniroyal Tire Co. as president. In 1988, Ratliff was approached to become the president & CEO of Deutz Allis, the farm equipment division of Allis-Chalmers Co. He then led management negotiations to purchase the farm equipment company from Klockner-Humboldt-Deutz of Germany. The management buyout was finalized in 1990 under the banner of AGCO Corp.
Under Ratliff, AGCO acquired many well-known equipment brands in the industry. In 1994, AGCO purchased the worldwide holdings of Massey Ferguson. In 1997 it purchased Fendt and in 2002, Ratliff led the acquisition of the Caterpillar agricultural track tractor business and the Challenger brand. In 2004, AGCO completed the purchase of Valtra, further strengthening AGCO’s position in Europe and South America.
Ratliff guided the company through a total of 21 acquisitions as it grew sales from $200 million in 1990 to over $5.4 billion in 2005 and retired as chairman in 2006. He was a 2014 inductee to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) Hall of Fame.
Martin Richenhagen, AGCO’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer staid, “Bob Ratliff’s commitment to excellence and complete dedication to AGCO, our customers, dealers, employees, and shareholders helped our company become what it is today. The board of directors, management team, and our employees worldwide are very grateful for his vision, leadership and dedicated service. He will be greatly missed, and our thoughts are with his wife Gini and his entire family.”