Keegan: More change is ahead for Goodyear

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Bob Keegan, chairman, CEO and president of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., described his company as "a work in progress" at the Goodyear Dealer Conference.

In his optimistic and emotional speech to retail and commercial customers in Grapevine, Texas, earlier today, Keegan credited them with helping turn the company around in 2004. "You hung with us in the difficult times, and we'll never forget that."

Although the economic environment in 2005 "is going to be pretty good," there is more change ahead, he continued. "There are some tough decisions in front of us."

Goodyear plans to focus more sharply on its flag and sub brands. In addition, it will continue to look at improving its cost structure, particularly in North America.

Keegan said to compete, Goodyear has to have the proper cost structure. That includes both taking advantage of global sourcing and improving productivity at its tire manufacturing plants in North America: "To be competitive, we must do that and that's what we will do."

He also outlined the principles that guide the company. He said Goodyear will win if it:

* focuses on the market intensely;

* listens to its dealers;

* senses what is going on in the market;

* makes decisions based on what's going on in the market, not on what's going on in Akron, Ohio;

* helps dealers with the "selling out" process;

* never compromises on quality;

* puts the "dead fish," or problems, of the business on the table, not under it;

* plays as a team;

* promotes and rewards team behavior;

* embraces action, not rhetoric;

* embraces change, not the status quo;

* keeps its promises to its customers; and

* plays to win, not merely survive.

Keegan said Goodyear associates also have to have a passion for the business that winners have.

"It's those principles that are helping us improve this company."

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