Goodyear has realigned its North American Tire operations, assigning full responsibility for consumer tires to John C. Polhemus, president of the North American unit, and appointing James M. Vogel, vice president of consumer business, to a special assignment on ``revenue enhancement opportunities.''
The change-which comes nine months after Mr. Vogel was promoted to the consumer tire vice presidency-``is intended to flatten the consumer organization, to improve customer focus of top management and to speed the decision-making process,'' Mr. Polhemus said in a prepared statement.
The change reflects Goodyear's interest in reviving profits from its consumer businesses in North America, a spokesman said.
``This renewed emphasis and focus on the consumer product segment...demonstrates...that this is a business that we intend to improve both considerably and quickly by getting closer to the market and our channel partners,'' Mr. Polhemus said in the statement.
Mr. Vogel, a 19-year Goodyear veteran, now reports directly to Robert Keegan, president and COO, and will devote his efforts to ``focus on revenue enhancement opportunities with an emphasis on top-line growth initiatives across all regions.''
The company did not elaborate on the specifics of the assignment, other than to say it entails global responsibilities.
Goodyear restructured North American Tire only last December, creating four business segments-consumer replacement, consumer original equipment, commercial, farm and retail-and promising improved customer service and responsiveness.
That move led to the closing of eight regional sales offices-in Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Jacksonville, Fla., Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco-and the consolidation of functional support operations in Akron.
This latest move streamlines the decision-making process even more, the spokesman said.
In addition to Mr. Vogel's reassignment, Goodyear said Jack Winterton, director of field sales; Tom Gravalos, director of corporate accounts; Bill Gaudet, director, Dunlop brand sales; and Michael Kitz, vice president of consumer marketing, will report directly to Mr. Polhemus.
Mr. Polhemus, 58, and a 31-year Goodyear veteran, has been president of Goodyear's North American tire unit since August 2000, following the retirement of William J. Sharp and the reassignment of the unit's vice president of sales and marketing, Marco V. Molinari.
Mr. Molinari currently is group managing director for Goodyear U.K., based in Birmingham, England.