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Burchfield's impending retirement has a domino effect at Bridgestone Firestone

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Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC (BFNT) has announced that executive and board member Ralph Burchfield will retire effective Jan. 1, 2008.

Burchfield is president of the Off Road Products Division, or ORPD (an operating group of BFNT), and Firestone Agricultural Tire Co. (a business unit of the ORPD). His decision to retire gives BFNT the opportunity to streamline its organizational structure and eliminate the ORPD operating group.

Effective Jan. 1, 2008, the businesses which are part of the ORPD group -- Firestone Agricultural Tire Co., the Off Road Tire group (OTR) and Firestone Tube Co. -- will report directly to Asahiko "Duke" Nishiyama, BFNT's president. As part of the reorganization, there will be two leadership changes.

* Kenneth Allen will be promoted from executive director of sales and marketing to vice president of Firestone Agricultural Tire Co. Allen joined BFNT in 2002.

* Thomas Shawn Rasey will be promoted from executive director to vice president of the Off Road Tire group. He has been a member of the OTR team since 1992.

Scott Gateley will remain general manager of the Firestone Tube Co.

Mark Emkes, chairman and CEO of BFNT and Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc., says he is grateful for Burchfield's "leadership, sense of humor and business acumen. He has contributed significantly to our company and the success that we've enjoyed in the ORPD group."

Burchfield began his career with the former Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. in 1971 in retail sales. He quickly rose through the ranks and in 1978 embarked on an international career with assignments in West Africa, New Zealand and Spain.

Returning to the United States in 1994, Burchfield quickly became an integral member of the Firestone Agricultural team. In 2000, he was promoted to president.

In 2003, he accepted the position of president of the newly created ORPD group.

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