CHARLOTTE, N.C.—In a realignment of its sales and marketing force, Continental General Tire Inc. has let go three key managers within its Passenger/Light Truck Division. The managers who left the company on May 31 include Chris Dickson, vice president of the PLT unit; Dennis DeLeonard, director of PLT marketing; and Tom Bruning, director of PLT replacement sales.
The moves are limited to those marketing posts within the PLT unit, said CGT President and CEO Bernd Frangenberg.
Mr. Dickson has been replaced, effective immediately, by Tom Roydhouse, formerly senior director of replacement sales and marketing for CGT's Commercial Division. Mr. Roydhouse will report to Mr. Frangenberg and receive functional direction on sales and marketing from T. J. Reese, executive vice president of the Commercial Division.
Mike Barker, formerly national marketing manager in the Commercial Division, will assume Mr. Roydhouse's former position and report directly to Mr. Reese.
The Commercial and PLT Divisions will remain separate, the company said, but will share sales and marketing expertise.
Citing a need for a "consistent marketing policy geared to retail," Mr. Frangenberg admitted that the personnel changes were hard decisions to make. Mr. Dickson, in particular, had been recruited by Mr. Frangenberg to CGT from his previous post as sales manager for Continental A.G. in Europe.
But Mr. Frangenberg felt he had given Mr. Dickson and his team enough time to develop a retail marketing strategy and wasn't satisfied with the results.
"I have been unhappy for quite some time with the bottom-line results," Mr. Frangenberg told Tire Business. "I've been leaning on this management team to really improve on the bottom line. Unfortunately, it hasn't happened to the degree that I had asked them to."
Mr. Frangenberg said he felt it was time to clear the marketing leadership team because CGT's policies still reflected too much of "old school" thinking, and "this is not the way you can succeed long term."
By "old school," Mr. Frangenberg referred to the days when the former General Tire pushed special sales of its products at low prices instead of concentrating on building a strong customer base.
The chief executive explained that he wants the company to move quicker towards a "consistent marketing strategy" where both independent dealers and mass retailers know who they're dealing with, and not see "too many changes in direction and policies." He wouldn't elaborate further.
Regarding Mr. Roydhouse, Mr. Frangenberg called him a "very solid and consistent guy" who has experienced success in managing the Commercial Division's marketing strategies.
CGT expects a smooth transition from Mr. Dickson to Mr. Roydhouse because he is a 30-year veteran of the tire industry and already knows some retail dealers. Mr. Roydhouse will be responsible for choosing replacements for Messrs. DeLeonard and Bruning.
Also reporting to Mr. Roydhouse will be Jim Mayfield, national director of mass retailers; Bill Stewart, sales service manager; and Tom Colelli, manager of sales and operations.
Dan Beach, CEO of the Tire Alliance Groupe, one of CGT's largest customers, said he expects the personnel shakeup to disrupt some dealers' business in the short term now that "there's a void." But he looks forward to meeting and working with Mr. Roydhouse.
"The only thing you can do in these situations is look forward to the future," Mr. Beach said. "We feel our relationship with the company is as strong as ever."