AKRON-Goodyear's board of directors has named William J. Sharp president of global support operations, effective Feb. 1-a move hinting at the firm's plans to create a presidential office shared by three or four officials, one analyst said. Mr. Sharp currently serves as president of Goodyear's European operations.
Sylvain G. Valensi, managing director of Goodyear France, will succeed Mr. Sharp as vice president, Europe region.
Mr. Sharp's appointment paves the way for future presidential assignments, said Fundamental Research Inc. analyst Harry Millis.
``After discussing (Mr. Sharp's appointment) with a couple of Goodyear people, it looks like
there will be an office of the presidency rather than a president,'' Mr. Millis said. ``Two or three people will be sharing the duties and reporting to (Samir F. Gibara).''
Goodyear has more than enough quality top-level managers inside to select from, Mr. Millis said, including Lee N. Fiedler, president of Kelly-Springfield Tire Co.; Eugene R. Culler Jr., executive vice president of North American tire operations; and Robert W. Tieken, executive vice president and CFO.
Mr. Millis expects Messrs. Fiedler and Culler to take operating positions, each overseeing one of two areas: marketing and distribution or diversified products. Goodyear may or may not elect to appoint Mr. Tieken, recruited from General Electric Co. in May 1994, a financial officer in the presidential office, he said.
A Goodyear spokesman declined to comment on speculation that the firm plans to create a presidential office before Chairman Stanley C. Gault leaves June 30.
David Garrity, an analyst with Smith Barney Harris Upham and Co. Inc., disagreed with Mr. Millis' notion of a presidential office.
``For Goodyear to go out and create a whole raft of new top management positions would be potentially undermining to its recent cost-cutting measures,'' Mr. Garrity said. ``If anything, what Goodyear's been indicating with the consolidation of Kelly-Springfield is they're cutting back in senior-level positions.''