Thomas A. Connell is to join Goodyear from TRW as vice president and controller reporting to Stephanie W. Bergeron, senior vice president, corporate financial operations. He is joined by Michael M. Rajkovic, vice president of finance for its North American Tire business unit. He will report to Robert W. Tieken, executive vice president and chief financial officer, and to Jonathan D. Rich, president, North American Tire.
Rajkovic replaces Richard J. Kramer, who was named senior vice president, strategic planning & restructuring by the company. Kramer moves on to become senior vice president, strategic planning & restructuring for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.
“Richard has been active in driving change in our organisation and is recognised as an outstanding leader,” said Robert J. Keegan, chairman and chief executive officer, to whom Kramer will report in his new position. “His experience, plus his deep knowledge of our company, makes him a valuable addition to our corporate leadership team as we build toward our 2005 objectives and turnaround.”
In a groundbreaking move at Goodyear the company has agreed to giving the United Steelworkers of America a seat on the board of directors. In return, the union members will give up raises for three years, pay more for health care and accept smaller pensions. Those are key points in a contract agreement reached last week by the company and the United Steelworkers of America. Union members will vote on the contract by mid-September.
Sumitomo Rubber Industries has reported a 50 per cent rise in net profit for the first half of the year, up to 4.79 billion Yen (US$ 40.77 million), compared with 3.2 billion Yen $27.25 m) in 1H 2002. Tyre sales were described as “sluggish” and the figures were boosted by strong sales of sporting goods (notably golf clubs and balls), where operating profits were up 56 per cent, and by cost-cutting measures. SRI maintained its forecast of a record 11 billion Yen ($93.6 m) for the full year.
Lewis Booth, Chief Executive of Mazda for the past year, has been named as the new president of Ford of Europe, succeeding Martin Leach, who resigned recently. Booth’s place at Mazda, in which Ford owns a 33 per cent stake, will be taken by Hisakazu Imaki, who has been with the company for 38 years.
CrossLink Inc. has announced 2004 availability of its TireBoss product, a new tyre monitoring system specifically designed for commercial truck fleets. Using TireBoss, a vehicle’s tyre temperature and pressure are remotely monitored and made accessible in real-time, via the web. TireBoss represents the end result of 5 years of development and extensive field trials by CrossLink together with a global tyre manufacturer. TireBoss solutions are applicable to trucks, buses, tankers, trailers and off-road heavy equipment vehicles. “We were determined to develop TireBoss to be both rugged enough for the off-road earthmovers and sensitive enough to read eighteen different tires on a moving tractor-trailer. Five years of development and test effort have paid off in a robust and reliable system that automates tyre monitoring, delivering data to the maintenance shed or other remote locations in real-time,” states CrossLink’s Vice President of Product Development, Jack Pyne.
Federal-Mogul Corporation has advised the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware that it has approached Citigroup Venture Capital Equity Partners, which has expressed an interest in making an equity investment of 350 million US dollars in the company. CVC has requested that Federal-Mogul agree to an exclusive 90-day negotiating period with CVC and to reimburse CVC for necessary fees and expenses incurred by it in connection with the due diligence review of the company’s business and negotiation of the possible investment.
Chip McClure, Federal-Mogul chief executive officer and president says, “An investment of the type CVC is proposing, if consummated, would create value for the long term by strengthening the balance sheet and enhancing liquidity, while helping ensure that we will continue to deliver innovative products and services to our customers.”
An infusion of new capital will reduce Federal-Mogul’s long-term debt and significantly enhance its liquidity, thus strengthening the company’s ability to compete and succeed in the increasingly competitive global auto parts market.
Continental Tire North America, Inc. has announced that it will supply the all-season tyres for the Chrysler Crossfire, the high-performance coupe that debuts with the 2004 model year. The Crossfire will be equipped with Continental ContiTouringContact CW95 tyres. “The Chrysler Crossfire is a high-performance vehicle, and a critical part of fulfilling that product promise is using tyres that help improve safety and enhance the driving experience,” said Andreas Gerstenberger, vice president of CTNA’s original equipment business.
In the USA, RoadStar magazine – which has a monthly circulation among owner operators and company drivers of 160,000 – named the Alcoa Wheel’s Dura-Bright(r) wheel finish as its Most Valuable Product Award for 2002. Dura-Bright(r) is a patented treatment that penetrates the aluminium, allowing wheels to be cleaned merely by spraying with soap and water.
In Romania, the Authority for Privatisation and Management of State Ownership has sold its 69.984 per cent stake in local steel cord manufacturer S.C. Cord S.A. Buzau for a figure of around 10 million Euro. The purchaser was Pirelli.
A fire at Vredestein’s raw materials warehouse at Enschede on Friday 22nd August was quickly brought under control by local fire brigades and the company fire brigade and personnel. As a result both the Vredestein production shop and the warehouse were saved and deliveries will not be affected.
In India, Parliamentary committee has urged the Government to reduce the amount of excise duty levied on tyres sold into the replacement market, from 24 per cent to 16 per cent. This follows a recent reduction from 32 per cent to 24 per cent. Such a reduction would save a single truck operator Rs 18,000 (361.8 Euro) a year in excise duty, says the committee. The Indian tyre industry contributes Rs 3,500 crore (703.5 million Euro) a year in taxes, the report adds.
Toyo Tire & Rubber is involved in talks with “several companies” to jointly develop a run-flat tyre, say press reports. The name mentioned most often is that of Michelin, but Satoshi Takashina, spokesman for Toyo, said that no final decision has been reached and discussions are under way with a number of companies. A report in a Japanese business publication said that Toyo and Michelin would jointly develop and sell run-flat tyres, produced in Japan and the USA, by the year 2005. The speculation caused Toyo’s shares to rise sharply – at one point up by over 13 per cent.
Toyota is negotiating to sell 10 per cent of its Indian joint venture to the Kirloskar group, Toyota’s partner in the venture. Kirloskar originally held 26 per cent of the equity, which was reduced to 11 per cent and, later, one per cent, as the group found difficulty in meeting its capital commitments – problems which now appear to be over.
Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge has been named as non-executive Chairman of the Boards of Pirelli UK plc, Pirelli General plc and Pirelli UK Tyres Ltd., effective September 1st. Lord Colin Marshall is currently Chairman of British Airways and is also a member of the Board of HSBC Holdings, Chairman of the International Advisory Board of the CBI and Chairman of Britain In Europe.