Robert W. Lane retired as Chairman of Deere & Company's Board of Directors in February 2010. He succeeded Hans W. Becherer who retired as Chairman in August 2000. Lane also served as John Deere's CEO from 2000-2009, succeeded by Samuel R. Allen as both CEO and Chairman.
Lane joined John Deere in 1982, following an early career in global banking. He managed various operations within the Worldwide Construction Equipment Division and later served as president and chief operating officer of Deere Credit, Inc. In 1992, he joined the Worldwide Agricultural Equipment Division where, as senior vice president, he directed equipment operations in Latin America, Australia, East Asia and South Africa.
Lane was elected chief financial officer in 1996, and two years later moved to Germany where, as managing director, he led Deere's agricultural equipment operations in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India and the nations of the former Soviet Union. He returned to the United States as president of the Worldwide Agricultural Equipment Division in 1999; subsequently he was elected Deere & Company’s President and Chief Operating Officer.
During his leadership, Lane guided Deere to record growth and success.Deere & Company's net income reached unprecedented levels for five consecutive years, surpassing $2 billion in 2008. Revenues more than doubled between 2000 and 2008.
Lane established the SVA model, which helped the company attain world-class status in asset efficiency and return on investment. His focus on global expansion led to significant investments throughout the world, most notably in Brazil, India and China. Deere's traditional factories were reworked and modernized, and at the same time, Deere's dealer organizations worldwide were significantly upgraded to better support the advanced needs of customers.
Aiming to attract and retain the best global talent from all backgrounds, Lane was the force behind the company's performance management system, its leadership development process, and a global team enrichment initiative.
Currently serving on the boards of BMW AG, General Electric Company, Northern Trust Corporation, and Verizon Communications Inc., Lane is also a trustee of the University of Chicago. He is an honorary director of the Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, a national director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
Born in Washington, D.C. (1949), Lane graduated with high honors from Wheaton College in Illinois (1972), and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business (1974). He and his wife, Patricia, have three adult children and reside in Chicago, Illinois.