A 1957 graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, Hans Becherer joined Deere & Company in 1962 after receiving an MBA from Harvard University earlier that year.
Until the early 1980s, Becherer served in a variety of marketing and management positions in Europe, and in 1983, was elected senior vice president of Deere's Overseas Farm and Consumer Products Division. In 1986, he was named executive vice president, Worldwide Farm Equipment and Consumer Products. Subsequently, he was elected president and chief operating officer in 1987, and served as president and chief executive officer from September 1989.
In May 1990 Becherer was elected chairman of Deere & Company upon Robert Hanson's retirement. Becherer stressed "genuine value", building on strategies of continuous improvement and global growth.
During his term, Deere's lawn-and-grounds-care equipment operations – part of farm equipment operations – became a separate operating division. In 1991, the company purchased SABO, a European maker of lawn mowers. Two years later, lawn-and-garden equipment sales topped $1 billion for the first time.
The company continued to expand its presence around the world, and entered new markets in China, India, South America and the former Soviet Union. During the 1990s, technology took a firm hold, and John Deere continued to lead the industry with innovations in precision farming and computer use.
In 1997,Deere & Company began a long-term relationship with the Professional Golfer's Association, providing tournament sponsorship for the annual John Deere Classic. It also became the PGA tour's official golf course equipment supplier, providing equipment for the tour's Tournament Players Club courses.
With the opening of the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois, in 1997, John Deere became a major player in the tourist industry. The Pavilion, with equipment displays and interactive exhibits, is one of the state's top tourist destinations.
In 1999, Deere & Company posted worldwide net sales and revenues of $11.7 billion and net income of $239 million. Becherer retired in May 2000.