BFNT's Baratta described as 'high caliber'

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John Baratta, who will replace John Gamauf as president of consumer replacement tire sales at Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC (BFNT), as well as vice president of BFNT, is the ideal man for the job, says BFNT Chairman and CEO Mark Emkes.

"We at Bridgestone Firestone are very fortunate to have high-caliber individuals such as John Baratta making up our team," says Emkes, also chairman and CEO of BFNT's parent company, Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc.

Baratta currently serves as vice president, North American consumer tire sales, a position he has held since 2006.

He started with Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. in 1983 and began working at a Firestone company-owned store in Charleston, S.C., as a salesman.

He spent more than 10 years in Bridgestone Firestone's sales organization working as store manager, field sales trainer and in other capacities before moving to the wholesale side of the business in 1993.

"Over the course of the years, he accepted positions of increasing responsibility, including regional marketing manager, southeast region; west region manager; and director of consumer replacement tires (at BFNT's headquarters) in Nashville, Tenn.," say BFNT officials.

Gamauf is scheduled to retire on May 1, 2008. On that same day, Baratta also will join BFNT's board of directors, a BFNT spokesperson has told (Gamauf will remain a board member, post-retirement.)

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