AKRON (Nov. 20, 2002)—John C. Polhemus, president of Goodyear North American Tire since July 2000, is retiring and will be replaced, effective Dec. 1, by Jonathan D. Rich, currently president of Goodyear Chemical and an executive with a track record for turning around struggling businesses.
Mr. Polhemus, 58, is retiring after more than 33 years with Goodyear, most of them in international assignments. His retirement comes only four months after Goodyear realigned North American Tire, giving Mr. Polhemus full responsibility for consumer tires as part of an effort to revive profits from the consumer tire business.
Mr. Rich, 47, was appointed president of Goodyear Chemical in July 2001 after joining the company in 2000 from General Electric Co. During his tenure as president, Mr. Rich has led the turnaround of the division, restructuring its operations, posting increases in earnings and cash flow, and expanding the business into new high-growth markets, Goodyear said.
“In Jon Rich, we have a talented Goodyear leader who brings to the table strong operational management skills, a passion for excellence built on the outstanding experience he gained at General Electric and the ability to drive performance through aggressive change initiatives,” said Robert J. Keegan, president and chief operating officer of Goodyear, in a prepared statement.
“These leadership attributes should serve well Goodyear´s North American customers and associates,” Mr. Keegan continued, “and the corporation overall, as we look to improve our operating performance in this critical market segment.
“At the same time," he said, "I want to thank John Polhemus for his outstanding service to our company over his long career at Goodyear. John has made major contributions to this company over his 33 years in virtually all of Goodyear´s worldwide operations.”
Mr. Polhemus joined Goodyear in 1969, and served as managing director of several of Goodyear´s country operations, including the Philippines, Malaysia, Turkey and Brazil. In 1995, he was named vice president of the Latin America region and its president in 1999.
Mr. Rich joined Goodyear in 2000 after having served in various senior management positions at General Electric during an 18-year career there. At Goodyear, Mr. Rich helped introduce the Six Sigma business process concept, implementing it initially in the chemical division, where the program achieved first-year savings to the company of more than $40 million, Goodyear said.
Mr. Rich is a native of Des Moines, Iowa, and received a chemistry degree from Iowa State University in 1977
and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 1982. He is married and has two daughters.