Former Firestone CEO John Nevin dies

May 25, 2006

John Nevin, a former chairman and CEO of Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., has died. He was 79.

Nevin had a controversial tenure at the company after he was hired in 1979. He moved the company's headquarters to Chicago in 1987 and helped engineer the sale of the company for $2.6 billion to Bridgestone Corp. in 1988.

Nevin was "long vilified by some for closing tire plants, eliminating jobs and moving Firestone's headquarters out of Akron (where it was founded) after 87 years," Modern Tire Dealer magazine reported in an interview with Nevin in 1988.

The acquisition by Bridgestone assured growth, jobs and career opportunities for the remaining 53,000 Firestone employees around the world, Nevin said. It was a move that fulfilled his "first obligation" to produce profits for the shareholders.

In a September 1989 news item in MTD concerning the merger of Firestone with the U.S. subsidiary of Bridgestone Corp., it said, "A number of Firestone dealers believe Nevin was responsible for what they feel has been favoritism shown to Firestone-owned MasterCare Service Centers over independent Firestone dealers."

The merger moved 300 positions from the Chicago office and the then year-old Bridgestone corporate office in Nashville to Akron.

Nevin retired from Firestone on Jan. 1, 1990.

He is survived by his wife, Anne, seven children, eight grandchildren and a sister.

Memorials may be made to Big Shoulders Fund, 309 W. Washington St., Chicago, IL 60606.