John Kennedy, Progress Rail Executive, Casts Insight into Global Corporate Development


John Kennedy with Dr. SantinDr. Claudia Santin with John Kennedy

On February 8, 2017, John Kennedy spoke at Concordia University of Chicago as part of the College of Business Global Speaker Series.

John Kennedy is Vice President Finance at Progress Rail, a subsidiary of Caterpillar ($47.1 billion, NYSE traded company). As head of Corporate Development, Mr. Kennedy travels the world evaluating and negotiating acquisitions for this multinational manufacturer of rail equipment and engines. Mr. Kennedy spoke about his own background and how he rose from an undergraduate Accounting major to his leadership role at Progress Rail. He described how he evaluates international deals from the point of view of company strategy, country risk, trade barriers, etc.

Among Mr. Kennedy’s most interesting insights were his observations on the international challenges a global company faces and the importance of sales agents to get entry and presence in the foreign countries.  He elaborated how companies grow and diversify three different ways from organic, acquisitions and Greenfield. He also shared how a company like Progress Rail gets its ideas for acquisitions and how it filters them.

With his closing thoughts, Mr. Kennedy very carefully laid out the steps one has to take to pursue his/her career. He also gave suggestions about how one can find success by following simple roadmaps.

Mr. Kennedy’s talk was of vital interest to all students interested in careers in strategic leadership. His talk enriched students pursuing Global Marketing, Global Management and Financial Management with his practical knowledge in these areas.

You can view his presentation here.

John Kennedy