DETROIT-John Wagner, named president of Metro 25 Tire six months ago, has left the Detroit-based dealer cooperative, citing differences with the group's chairman and founder, Duane Rao. Mr. Wagner said he was dismissed as the group's president May 9 after disagreeing with Mr. Rao over the future direction of Metro 25's marketing efforts.
The Louisville, Ky.-based marketing consultant and former managing director of the American Retreaders Association, had wanted to make Metro 25 part of a larger ``generic'' cooperative, combining its buying power with that of other industry groups for maximum clout.
However, Mr. Wagner said Mr. Rao and the board did not want Metro 25 to become part of such a co-op and therefore refused to listen to the details of his proposal. He said he now is working to form his own ``generic'' cooperative organized along the same lines.
``We had a difference in marketing strategies,'' Mr. Wagner said, referring to his disagreement with Mr. Rao and the board. ``Metro 25 is going to do their program, and I'm going to run my own.''
Explaining his side of what he termed the ``grave philosophical differences'' separating the two, Mr. Rao said he didn't want Metro 25 committed to becoming ``a piece of a different puzzle that may-or may not-come together.''
``I-we-just wanted to grow Metro 25 as it is,'' said Mr. Rao, who added he also speaks for the organization's board of directors. He said the board voted to sever the relationship because Mr. Wagner also had failed to recruit any new members during his six months as president. ``It was a business decision,'' said Mr. Rao, who will continue serving as the group's chairman and chief operating officer.
Eventually, someone probably will be hired to serve as president. But whoever is hired will have to be in agreement with the board's philosophies, Mr. Rao said.
``We're in no rush,'' he added. ``We didn't have a president for 14 years. So we're not paranoid about not having one for a day, a week or even the next 14 years for that matter. We have a good executive committee whose members are really participating.''