HANOVER, Germany (April 27, 2001) – Continental AG has announced that for the first time it will have a chief operating officer for its North American operations. He is Ulrich Wellen, formerly vice president of Continental's worldwide original equipment unit. A company spokesperson said the official company announcement, along with an explanation of exactly what the move will mean to Continental Tire North America, will be made Monday.
Mr. Wellen's appointment is the first and biggest step in what Continental termed “the restructuring of Continental Tire North America in order to get things back on track.”
Continental, which had a 6.3-percent sales increase worldwide during the first quarter of 2001, saw a 30-percent decrease from the same period a year ago in its North American division. That contributed to a 22-percent decrease in operating earnings worldwide.
The Hanover-based company, in a press release, attributed its North American situation to “fierce price gouging and a slump in vehicle sales, accompanied by drastic increases in energy and raw materials prices and increased costs for production modifications.”