Glen Birkwood retires

Glen Birkwood retires on 31 October after 34 years in the tyre business

After 34 years in the tyre industry, Uniroyal truck tyres manager Glen Birkwood is retiring on 31 October. Having entered the tyre business in 1980, Birkwood rose through the ranks at Pirelli, Firestone and then Bridgestone before becoming Uniroyal truck tyres sales manager in 2000.

Glen Birkwood joined Pirelli in 1980, embarking on a more than three decade long career by becoming the Italian tyre manufacturer’s district sales manager for the Southeast of England. Later that decade he became retail development manager at Pirelli and during this period he began seriously analyzing the car tyre market. The guiding influence of senior executives from Milan challenged him to assess the sales potential of the areas he oversaw, which resulted in the development to a more UHP-focused car tyre business.

In 1990 he joined Firestone as regional sales and then key dealer network manager. Of course Firestone was subsequently bought by Bridgestone, which meant Birkwood helped set up the First Stop network in the UK.

2000 brought with it a phonecall from Kings Road Tyres asking if he could head up the Uniroyal truck tyre business on behalf of the well-known wholesaler and distribution operation.

Clearly, much has changed during these three and half decades – not least the diminution of the UK market’s emphasis on premium tyres in favour of lower entry costs products and medium and small hauliers remain the most tempted in this respect. However, quality remains quality and long-term relationship will always be important. What’s changing now is the way in which these arguments are communicated and the way the sales potential of areas – a concept that became important to Birkwood back in the 1980s – is assessed.

With this much experience, there isn’t any suggestion that Glen Birkwood will immediately disappear from the market, however we wish him well as he turns the page at the end of chapter recording his full-time commitment to tyres.

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