Phil Kortokrax Gets a Promotion at Cooper, and Christopher Ball Takes on North American Tire Operations

March 5, 2018

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has named a new president of North America Tire Operations following the promotion of Phil Kortokrax to senior vice president of global operations and procurement. 

Christopher Ball is joining Cooper on March 19 and will serve as senior vice president of the company, as well as president of tire operations in North America, the company's largest market.

Ball is joining Cooper after spending 15 years at the Whirlpool Corp. He will be responsible for creating and driving the execution of strategic plans to grow the tire company's business within the dealer-distributor network, as well as in new sales channels.

He will partner with the company’s operations and technical teams in the U.S. as they focus on designing and manufacturing of tires in safe and sustainable facilities, including four manufacturing plants; he'll also work with Cooper's supply chain operations.

At Whirlpool Ball served as global vice president for the company’s KitchenAid small appliance business. Prior to that, he held leadership positions within Whirlpool’s laundry business, beginning as senior director of the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) laundry team. He was later promoted to general manager of the North America laundry unit, Whirlpool’s largest business. His career at Whirlpool also included sales and marketing leadership positions within multiple business segments. Before joining Whirlpool, Ball spent two years at General Mills, Inc. working in sales leadership roles.

Ball will report to Brad Hughes, CEO and president of Cooper.

“We are pleased to welcome Chris to our executive leadership team,” says Hughes. “He is a talented global executive with significant commercial experience, and the energy and demonstrated leadership capabilities to help us achieve our strategic growth objectives.”

In his new role, Kortokrax, who has been with Cooper for nearly three decades, will oversee the company’s global manufacturing operations, which includes eight tire manufacturing plants on three continents, as well as global procurement. He also will be responsible for the company's emerging global original equipment and worldwide truck and bus radial tire businesses.

“During his long tenure with Cooper, Phil has served in many different functional areas within the company and brings deep expertise to his new role," says Hughes. "With this promotion, he returns to lead manufacturing, but this time on a global scale in recognition of the importance of our worldwide production footprint. We look forward to his contributions as we work to continuously improve product quality, maintain our focus on safety, and continue to enhance efficiencies at our plants around the world."

Kortokrax joined Cooper in 1990 as a member of the information technology team, moved into plant operations in 1994, and by 2003, progressed to the position of director if internal audit. He went on to serve as general manager of the Mickey Thompson business, and in 2008, moved to the North America Tire Operations business as vice president of dealer channel sales. Three years later, he was named vice president of strategic marketing and planning, and in 2012, he was appointed vice president of manufacturing and supply chain for North America Tire Operations, a post he held until he took on the top spot in 2015.

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