Stanley Gault, former chairman and CEO of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., died on June 29, 2016, in his hometown of Wooster, Ohio. He was 90.
Gault made his mark at Rubbermaid Inc., where he was chairman and CEO for 11 years. He retired from Rubbermaid at 65 years of age in 1991, and almost immediately joined Goodyear in the same capacity.
His hiring was a surprise. Goodyear hadn’t named an “outsider” to lead the company since its early days. (Gault had been a member of Goodyear’s board since 1989, so he was not entirely unfamiliar with the company.) He said he took the job at 65 because of Goodyear’s great name and reputation.
Here’s how former Modern Tire Dealer Editor Lloyd Stoyer described him in 1991:
“Stan Gault is a salesman, a motivator and a team player. He has an open and easy manner and gets along well with the media. But he’s also a tough, no-frills taskmaster who expects performance, not promises."
He retired from Goodyear in 1996.
Prior to joining Rubbermaid, Gault was senior vice president and sector executive of General Electric Co.’s Industrial Products and Components Section in Fairfield, Conn. He had joined GE in the fall of 1948 after graduating from The College of Wooster.
Goodyear Chairman and CEO Rich Kramer said today’s Goodyear began taking shape under Gault’s leadership.
“He had unmatched business credentials when he was named CEO in 1991, but more importantly, Stan brought a personal commitment to Goodyear. He believed the company had a special place in American industry and led the way in Goodyear’s rebirth.
“Our shift from a manufacturing-driven company to one with a market-back consumer focus started with Stan. The commitment to helping our customers grow their businesses started with Stan. Emphasizing the importance of sales and marketing in our company started with Stan.
“As a marketing expert, Stan was an effective caretaker and "grower" of the Goodyear brand in very visible ways,” said Kramer. “He expanded the brand’s advertising presence, most notably promoting the innovative Aquatred tire to millions of consumers. He redefined the ‘product launch’ by introducing four new tires -- including the Aquatred -- on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid. He even changed the colors on the Goodyear Blimp to match the company’s blue and gold.”
Goodyear also returned to selling the Goodyear brand through the mass merchandiser channel under Gault, beginning with the former Sears, Roebuck & Co. in 1992. The agreement between the two companies was for the distribution and sale of millions of tire units per year.
“Above all, Stan Gault realized the strength of the Goodyear brand began with its dedicated people," said Kramer. "He was the first to make everyone who worked at Goodyear feel part of the company by referring to us as ‘associates.’”
Stan was preceded in death by Flo Gault, his wife of 63 years, in 2013.
“On behalf of all Goodyear associates, we extend our heartfelt sympathies to Stan’s two sons, his daughter and his entire family,” said Kramer.
According to the Akron Beacon Journal, funeral arrangements are being handled by McIntire, Bradham, Sleek Funeral Home in Wooster. Calling hours will be 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the funeral home on Friday, July 8.
Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on July 9 at Wooster United Methodist Church.