Kramer tells Goodyear shareholders good news

April 17, 2012

Roughly 20 minutes after it had started, the 2012 Goodyear Shareholders Meeting in Akron, Ohio, was finished. It was not unremarkable, just efficient.

Board members

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s 13-person board of directors shrunk to 10 following the retirements of James Boland, former CEO, vice chairman and president of Cavaliers Operating Co. LLC, and G. Craig Sullivan, retired chairman and CEO of The Clorox Co. Another director, Rodney O'Neal, CEO and president of Delphi Automotive LLP, did not stand for re-election.

The remaining board members, including the newest member, Bill Conaty, retired senior vice president of human resources for the General Electric Co., were re-elected to one-year terms.

Executive compensation

Shareholders, by a wide margin, also approved the compensation for the company's named executive officers. Goodyear recorded net income of $343 million in 2011 and set various sales records. In addition, its common stock price rose nearly 20% over the course of the year.

In an advisory vote, 81% of the shareholders voted to accept the compensation resolution. Although the results are non-binding, the Compensation Commitee would take them into consideration if changes in Goodyear's executive compenstion policies were warranted, particularly as a result of the vote.

In 2011, payouts were made ranging from 131% to 150% of the performance targets for the named executive officers. For example, under the Management Incentive Plan (MIP), Chairman, CEO and President Rich Kramer earned $2.1 million, or 150% of the MIP's targeted performance objectives.

Goodyear's destination

In his address to the shareholders in attendance, Kramer outlined the company’s "Strategy Roadmap," which he described as "the foundation for decisions on every aspect of the business, from marketing and product development to investment and team building."

There are three essential strategies for future success:

1. returning the North American Tire business unit to sustained profitability;

2. winning in China; and

3.  continuing Goodyear's traditional success in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

"As we move through 2012, we know that there are challenges ahead and work still to be done," he said.

"But we have positive momentum and more confidence than ever that we will successfully execute our strategy, reach our destination and create sustainable economic value

* "by being first with customers, providing the best products and the best supply chain to help those customers growth their businesses;

* "by being the leader in our targeted market segments, with the right brands, channels and customers selling premium products in the segments where the potential returns are the highest;

* "by being the innovation leader, setting the pace for market-back innovation in our industry; and, finally,

* "by being competitively advantaged in everything we do, including products, marketing, supply chain and manufacturing.

"As a result, we will be profitable throughout the economic cycles, generate positive cash flow and return to investment grade. That is our destination.”

He added that the company should be moving into its new headquarters, located just a short drive from the old one, at this time next year. It represents “more than just a new place to work, it will serve as an environment for a new way to work.”