The chief executive of Australian joint venture Ansell-Goodyear has departed suddenly, with no reason given. Rob McEniry is regarded as the main force behind the renaissance of South Pacific Tyres, in which Ansell-Goodyear has a 50 per cent stake, consolidating to two manufacturing sites and taking out A$85 million of annual costs. SPT is moving towards profitability and an Ansell spokesman was confident that McEnirys departure would not adversely affect the reconstruction programme.
Fiat: Fresco Remains Chairman, Barberis Is New CEO
At a Fiat board meeting last Friday it was decided that Paolo Fresco will remain as chairman of the company, while former general director A. Barberis will become the new CEO. This was despite the fact that the Agnelli family (which owns 34 per cent of the group) and Mediobanca, the investment bank, wanted to replace Mr. Fresco with a new chairman, Enrico Bondi. They were blocked by a combination of creditor banks and institutional shareholders.
Robert J. Keegan (55), Goodyears president and chief operating officer, has also been appointed chief executive officer of the company, effective from January 1st. He takes over from Sam Gibara (63), who will remain as chairman for an unspecified period - in this capacity, he will advise and assist Keegan and other senior managers as they assume responsibility for day-to-day management of the company. Keegan joined Goodyear from Eastman Kodak two years ago, during which time he has, says Gibara, gained an impressive understanding of the industry and is now fully prepared to take the company forward. Keegans contract included a clause whereby he would receive compensation of several million Dollars if he was not appointed to the position of CEO by October next year.
CEO of the Continental Board, Dr. Stephan Kessel (47), has resigned and left the company. The Supervisory Board announced his successor as Manfred Wennemer (53). Wennemer was formerly responsible for the ContiTech division.
Covisint, the motor manufacturer led on-line marketplace, has announced the appointment of Kevin English as its first Chief Executive Officer. English comes from Credit Suisse First Boston, where he held the post of managing director and CEO of e-commerce. The appointment should give Covisint the impetus and direction to attain its potential as the leading on-line marketplace for the automotive trade, in particular for the supply of OE equipment and services.
New Chairman And CEO Of Bridgestone/Firestone Europe
Mr Shoshi Arakawa has been appointed chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Bridgestone/Firestone Europe (BFE). He succeeds Mr Takeshi Uchiyama, who retires and returns to Japan after leading BFE for the last three years.
The former high-ranking Michelin manager Carlos Ghosn has been officially appointed CEO of Nissan. De facto Ghosn has already been playing this role for months. The move is seen as an attempt to bind Ghosn to Nissan.
Hayes Lemmerz Int. appointed Curtis J. Clawson as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. In connection with Clawsons appointment, Ranko Ron Cucuz, the Companys Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, will remain as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Most recently, Clawson was President and Chief Operating Officer of American National Can Group, a $2.5 billion NYSE traded manufacturing company, which was acquired by Rexam PLC.
Is It likely That The Ford-Family Will Fire CEO Nasser?
An article in a German daily newspaper (Ford, a terribly nice family) speculates that CEO Nasser might be fired in the near future. Under his guidance Ford has suffered several recalls of newly launched cars because of quality problems. Furthermore the Ford-family is not happy with the public dispute between Ford and Firestone, says the newspaper.
Stephan Kessel, Continental’s CEO: A Separation On Friendly Terms
Someone who acquires a seat at the top, and even reaches the CEO position at Continental, will neither be fired nor will he just quit. There is what is called a separation on friendly terms. The question whether Kessel and von Grünberg could ever have been friends is not even relevant. Whoever thinks that von Grünberg just shrugged and happily retired to some comptroller’s position will find out that he was wrong. Von Grünberg is the type of man who may occasionally loosen the handcuffs, writes a German daily newspaper, but he also tightens them again. His thumb pointed downwards, and that gesture determined Kessel’s future, and the whole board went along, including the banker Weiss.
In his statement to senators in the USA, Bridgestone/Firestone chairman and chief executive Mr. Masatoshi Ono apologised to the families who have lost loved ones in these terrible rollover accidents. This was interpreted by some as an attempt to put some responsibility on to the vehicle, rather than the tyres alone. Fords chief executive, Jacques Nasser, is reported to have said later that the issue is to do with tyres and not vehicles.
John T. Lampe, Executive Vice President of Bridgestone/Firestone Inc., has been made Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of the American company. He joined Bridgestone/Firestone in 1973 and has a wealth of international experience with the company. Lampe succeeds Masatoshi Ono (63), who has been with Bridgestone for 41 years, having spent the last ten years in the US and the last seven as CEO. He immediately announced a three-point action plan with the aim of accelerating the tyre recall, assembling a new management team and creating new methods of collecting and examining performance data. His appointment follows personal intervention in the crisis by Yoichiro Kaizaki, Chief Executive Officer of the parent company Bridgestone Corporation. Fuller details in the November issue of TYRES & ACCESSORIES.
Ford Ambitious to Become Largest Tyre Marketer in USA
American trends, schemes that have proved successful on the other side of the big pond, will spill over to Europe after a short delay. That has always been so. So watch out for the letters FCSD and remember that they stand for Ford Customer Service Division. The car giant has just started a strong advertising campaign in North America, introducing to the public America’s Newest Tire Store, a network of 2,400 of the current 5,000 Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers. According to a Ford spokesman, this is the latest step in providing customers with everything they really need, and all at one stop. The Ford and Lincoln dealers, he claimed, have suitable business premises, sufficient relevant expertise and the scope to offer competitive prices – with the express advance warning that Ford has no intention to be cheap but will market tyres at a fair price. Tyre manufacturers build tyres to Ford specifications, the spokesman explained, and it would therefore only be a natural progression for the company to market original replacement parts. Thus only original equipment suppliers will be able to take part in the Ford replacement business. To give the project a kick-start the company currently runs a lavish and expensive TV campaign (costs are not disclosed), later to be supported and partly replaced by radio advertising and direct mailing. Carl Bergmann, Customer Service Operations Manager, can see no point in sending customers away in future when they want to buy tyres. And these are certainly not empty words: In July 1998 the Ford organisation sold a mere 700 tyres, the figure for this July was 97,000, and that is only a start. The sales target for the current year is one million tyres, three million in the year 2000, to be doubled again to six million units in 2001, at least according to a Ford Motor Co. spokesman talking to the press. These are large numbers indeed, but not unrealistically so, because if each of the currently participating 2,400 dealers only sells one set of tyres per day, the three-million barrier will be breached.