Bridgestone Americas announces MAJOR restructuring

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Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc.'s tire operations will enter 2009 with a new look. The major restructuring "will allow us to provide even greater focus on our overall tire business in the Americas," says Chairman, CEO and President Mark Emkes.


According to Emkes, the changes "will align us more closely with the regional business model that Bridgestone Corp. is promoting for all of its global tire operations." The new structure also will reflect "the Bridgestone Group's desire for global standardization in the way we go to market, providing our international customers a consistent business model that they can rely on regardless of their geographic region."


Bottom line, he says, the realignment "will help us eliminate confusion on a global scale, provide for enhanced synergies, and allow us to be even more responsive to evolving customer needs."


Effective Jan. 1, Asahiko "Duke"” Nishiyama will lead the renamed Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO). Reporting into this unit will be the company's Latin American tire operations, the United States and Canadian consumer tire businesses, and the U.S. and Canadian commercial tire businesses.


Nishiyama will continue to report to Emkes. Reporting to Nishiyama under this restructuring will be:


* Eduardo Minardi, who will continue as president of the company's Latin American Tire division.


* Michael Gorey, currently chairman, CEO and president of Bridgestone Firestone Diversified Products. Under the new structure, Gorey will serve as president of the U.S. & Canada Consumer Tire Sales division.


Reporting to Gorey will be Michael Martini, president, original equipment, and John Baratta, president, replacement tire sales.


* Saul Solomon, currently president of Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions. Under the new structure, Solomon also will serve as president of the U.S. & Canada Commercial Tire Sales division.


Reporting to Solomon will be Kenneth Allen, president, agricultural tire; Shawn Rasey, president, OTR tire; and Scott Gateley, general manager, tube business.


* Narumi "Nick" Zaitsu, currently vice chairman of Bridgestone Americas, who will assume the additional title of executive vice president of BATO.


Reporting to Zaitsu will be Yasutaka Enoki, who will continue serving in his concurrent positions as executive vice president of the BATO product development group and president of Bridgestone Americas Center for Research and Technology; and Steve Shelton, vice president of supply, planning and sourcing.


* Stephen Brooks, president of the U.S., Canada and Monterrey manufacturing group.


* David Laubie, vice president, sales engineering.


* Melissa McGuire, vice president, legal and general counsel, U.S. and Canada.


* William Thompson, controller, U.S. and Canada (formerly controller for Bridgestone Bandag).


* Linda Baskin, vice president, human resources, U.S. and Canada.


* Dennis George, vice president, enterprise planning, BATO. (George also will report to Emkes as vice president of enterprise planning for Bridgestone Americas Holding.)


* Mike Kane, vice president, quality assurance and Six Sigma, BATO. (Kane also will report to Emkes as vice President of quality assurance and Six Sigma for Bridgestone Americas Holding.)


As a result of the restructuring of the Americas tire business and the reassignment of team members to new positions within BATO, the following additional changes in Bridgestone America assignments were also announced. They, too, are effective Jan. 1, 2009.


Ken Weaver, currently Bridgestone Americas Holding corporate controller and vice president of finance for Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC (BFNT), will succeed Gorey as chairman, CEO and president of Bridgestone Firestone Diversified Products.


Tim Walsh, currently controller of BFNT, will succeed Weaver as Bridgestone Americas corporate controller.


Reporting to Emkes will be Nishiyama, Weaver, Larry Magee (chairman, CEO and president of BFS Retail & Commercial Operations LLC), Zaitsu (in his capacity as vice chairman of Bridgestone Americas) and each of Bridgestone Americas' staff functions, including finance, legal and corporate compliance, enterprise planning, human resources, quality assurance, community and corporate relations, and the Controller's Office.


"We all know that we as an industry have a great deal of hard work ahead of us in the face of an extremely challenging financial environment," says Emkes. "It is my belief that these changes will help Bridgestone Americas enhance its focus on our core business -- tires -- and assist us in weathering those challenges, allowing us to emerge even stronger whenever the global economy recovers."

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