Mark Emkes, previously president of Bridgestone/Firestone Latin American Operations, has been named chairman, CEO and president of Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire L.L.C. (BFNT). The appointment took effect Sept. 16.
He replaces Isao Togashi, who has returned to Japan to head Bridgestone Corp.'s global manufacturing and technology operations. In his new position, Mr. Emkes, 49, will be responsible for the sales organizations and research, product development and manufacturing aspects of the North American unit's tire business.
Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, a subsidiary of Bridgestone/Firestone Americas Holding Inc. (BFAH), develops, manufactures and markets Bridgestone, Firestone, Dayton and private and associate brand tires. The company is focused on wholesale and original equipment markets, supplying passenger, light truck, commercial vehicle, off-road, agriculture and other tires to its customers in North America.
Since Mr. To-gashi's departure, the company had been looking to identify a leader for BFNT who could focus on the rebuilding needs of that business unit, while continuing the progress that's been made over the last 22 months, said John Lampe, BFAH chairman, CEO and president, in a prepared statement.
``Mark Emkes is that leader,'' he said. ``He has a keen business sense and an upbeat and constructive way of working with associates, dealers and community leaders. He has a passion for our business and our company and will make a significant, positive contribution to our North American tire operations.''
Mr. Emkes is a 26-year veteran with the company, having joined the former Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. as a college class trainee in trade sales in 1976. His first assignment was store manager in Baytown, Texas, then he joined the international side of the tire business, with assignments in the United Arab Emirates and several tours of duty in Spain, Mexico and Brazil.
Prior to his current assignment as head of the Latin American operations, Mr. Emkes served as president of Bridgestone/Firestone do Brasil and Bridgestone/Firestone de Mexico.
An announcement regarding Mr. Emkes' successor in Latin America is expected shortly.
``I have always believed that the way to success in the tire business is to integrate the manufacturing and sales aspects of the business in a way that addresses the customers' needs and acknowledges the challenges and opportunities inherent in plant environments,'' Mr. Emkes said in a prepared statement.