Bridgestone Americas Chief Emkes Announces Retirement
On February 12 Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM) announced the upcoming retirement of Mark A. Emkes, the company’s chairman, CEO and president, effective February 28, 2010. On that date Emkes, who has been employed at the Bridgestone family of families for more than 33 years, will also retire from his position as a member of the Boards of Directors of BSAM and parent company Bridgestone Corporation.
Emkes joined the former Firestone Tire & Rubber Company in 1976 as a college class trainee in trade sales. Following his first assignment changing tyres in a company-owned store in Baytown, Texas, he began an international career spanning more than 21 years, with assignments in the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Mexico and Brazil. From 1990 to 1997 he served as president of Bridgestone/Firestone de México, S.A. de C.V. and as president of Bridgestone/Firestone do Brasil Industria e Comercio Ltda. from 1997 to 2000. In 2000 he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to become president of Bridgestone Firestone Latin America, and accepted an assignment as chairman, CEO and President of Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC in 2002. In 2004, as Chairman and CEO of Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc. (as BSAM was known at that time), he assumed responsibility for the Bridgestone Group’s Americas operations that covers North, Central and South America and was elected to the Board of Directors of Bridgestone Corporation. In January 2009 he was given the additional title of president of BSAM.
With Emkes’ retirement from BSAM, the company has elected to separate the offices of chairman of the Board and chief executive officer, a measure it says is being taken in order to “further enhance the company’s corporate governance structure and more clearly differentiate the responsibilities and accountabilities of BSAM’s senior management offices”.
Effective March 1, 2010, the company has named Asahiko “Duke” Nishiyama as chairman and Gary A. Garfield as CEO and president. Reporting to Garfield will be Eduardo Minardi, who will be named BSAM’s chief operating officer, and Ken Weaver, the current chairman, CEO and President of BSAM subsidiary, Firestone Diversified Products, LLC. Reporting to Minardi will be Larry Magee, Chairman, CEO and President, Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC. Minardi will also assume the offices of chairman, CEO and president of Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, the business unit that consists of BSAM’s Latin American tyre operations and the US and Canadian consumer and commercial tyre businesses.
“We are grateful to Mark for his many years of leadership and the energy and passion with which he has served the Bridgestone family of companies,” said Shoshi Arakawa, chairman, CEO and president of Bridgestone Corporation. “We wish him all the best in his retirement.”
Emkes announced his retirement in an open letter to Bridgestone Americas employees: “Words can’t express the gratitude I have towards this company and to all of you who have helped make it the best place to spend the last 33 years. You will never be able to imagine the respect I have for our Bridgestone Americas teammates and the company they represent. You have been tremendously successful — even in the face of the most dire economic climate since the Great Depression — and I thank you for allowing me to be a part of your success.”
Separately, Emkes remarked, “I’m excited about the leadership the new management team will bring Bridgestone Americas. While each is a veteran of the Bridgestone Americas family, they have many innovative ideas that will serve the company well into the future.”