Sheldon Salzman, Former Uniroyal Tire President, Has Died

Jan. 19, 2018

Sheldon Salzman, a former president of Uniroyal Tire Co. credited with turning the company around in the early 1980s, died Dec. 26, 2017, in Florida. He was 87.

He was born Jan. 27, 1930, in the Bronx, N.Y. His parents moved to Long Island at the start of World War II. He graduated from Babylon High School in 1947 and attended Pratt Institute where he received a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 1951.

After graduation he immediately enlisted in the U.S. Air Force for service during the Korean conflict.  He was offered a commission in the U.S. Navy and transferred to the Naval Officers Candidate School in Newport R.I., and received his commission in Ensign in January 1952.

Upon his release from active service in 1955, Salzman joined the Naugatuck chemical division of the U.S. Rubber Company where he held various manufacturing and research and development positions and eventually rose to the head of the engineering development department in 1965.

In 1967 he was transferred into the international division and moved to London, England, as head of the economic analysis group for Uniroyal Ltd. He moved back to the United States in 1968 and took responsibility for distribution and scheduling of all divisional factories in the U.S.  He became factory manager of the division’s largest factory in Naugatuck, Con. in 1969.

He transferred again to England in 1972 as managing director of Uniroyal Chemical for all of Europe.

In 1975 he returned to the U.S. to take over general management of the domestic chemical sales and marketing development.  He became president of the chemical company of Uniroyal in 1977.

By the fall of 1979, the Uniroyal Tire Co. was hemorrhaging money and he was asked to take the presidency of the company in an effort to stem the bleeding. Within two years the tire operations were healthy and were referred to by the financial press as “a favorite recovery story” and having made “Impressive progress in its turnaround." (This New York Times story from 1982 notes under Salzman's leadership Uniroyal's worldwide tire sales moved from a loss of $98.7 million in 1979 to an operating profit of $69.1 million in 1981.)

In 1986, Uniroyal was the target of a takeover attempt and the tire company spun off and merged with the tire operations of the B.F. Goodrich Co.  Salzman became co-chairman and chief operating officer of the Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Co. residing in Akron, Ohio.

A year later the merged company was purchased in a leveraged buyout by the employees and he remained as the head of the company. During this period he was named by a rubber industry publication as one the six people in the history of the tire industry in the United States who “had made a difference."

Uniroyal was purchased by Michelin in 1990, and Salzman retired from active operations and joined the board of the Uniroyal Holding Co.

Salzman was preceded in death by his wife Helen Ann, whom he had married in 1953. He is survived by one son, David, and two grandchildren.