John Baratta, president of consumer replacement tire sales in North America for Bridgestone Americas Inc., will retire March 1. The 34-year Bridgestone veteran will be replaced by Erik Seidel, who joined the tire company in 2013.
Baratta joined Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. in 1983 as a tire sales manager in Charleston, S.C. Over the next two decades, he ascended through the ranks of the Bridgestone consumer tire business, and in 2008, he assumed his current position as president of consumer replacement.
“John has been an outstanding member of our team, and his contributions to the consumer tire group have been fundamental to the growth and success of Bridgestone Americas,” says TJ Higgins, president of the integrated consumer tire division,U.S. & Canada, for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC. “We wish John the very best in retirement and are excited for Erik to take on this role. Erik shares John’s passion for our customers, and he is the right person to build upon the success of John’s leadership.”
Seidel has a diverse background that encompasses brand marketing, manufacturing and sales. He joined Bridgestone in 2013 as vice president of brand marketing for the consumer tire business. In that role, Seidel led the company’s brand-building efforts, developing breakthrough product launches, including the introduction of the company’s DriveGuard run-flat tire line.
In June 2015, Seidel was promoted to his current position of vice president of consumer replacement tire sales to work alongside Baratta. The company says Seidel has successfully delivered growth and driven new product development across North America, and has delivered new tools and technologies such as TireConnect and the side-by-side selling tool to help dealers engage with consumers online and ultimately drive sales.
“Erik has quickly demonstrated his ability to strengthen relationships, build trust and drive growth,” says Baratta. “I am excited for him to take on this role and have full confidence that his leadership will allow Bridgestone to achieve our vision of becoming an indispensable business partner.”
Prior to joining Bridgestone, Seidel worked at Kimberly-Clark Corp., where he managed a number of brands including Viva Towels, the Scott brand and the Huggies brand of diapers and wipes.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a MBA and a master’s degree in manufacturing management from Northwestern University.
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