Several tire industry companies recently changed top management positions.
Len Lewin, American Car Care Centers (ACCC) Inc.'s president and chief operating officer since 1994, was promoted to chief executive officer of ACCC at the Memphis, Tenn.-based marketing group's recent shareholders' meeting.
Meanwhile, Ben Kravitz, president of Summit Tires of Mass Inc. in Brockton, Mass., was named ACCC's chairman of the board. Both appointments became effective Oct. 1.
Mr. Lewin's promotion ``demonstrates the shareholders' faith and confidence in Len as our leader,'' said Will Tolerton, president of Alliance, Ohio-based Terry's Tire Town and an ACCC board member since 1998. ``We must have one voice to communicate and execute the will of our organization, and Len is that person.''
Under Mr. Lewin's leadership the company has grown to 19 member distributors and 1,096 locations in 45 states from approximately 600, ACCC said in a statement, adding that during his tenure ``the company has been recognized as a leader and the premier marketing organization in the industry.''
``Len continues to provide exceptional leadership for our members and when dealing with our suppliers, who are critical partners as we continue to grow our dealership base nationwide,'' said Pat Hietpas, executive vice president of U.S. Tire and Exhaust in Combined Locks, Wis., and an ACCC board member since 1997.
Mr. Kravitz replaces John Boyle-president of Englewood Tire Distributors Inc.-who served as chairman for the past two years. He said his objectives as chairman include improving the retail customer's buying experience, improving the dealer network, strengthening vendor relationships and maintaining ACCC's position among other marketing groups.
Summit Tires, an ACCC member distributor since 1999, operates three distribution centers, serves 36 ACCC dealers and runs seven retail stores.
``The ACCC program has been instrumental in our growth and has provided our dealers with invaluable marketing support,'' Mr. Kravitz said in an ACCC statement.
Another independent tire dealer group, Portland, Ore.-based Tire Factory L.L.C., has named Anthony Showen chief operations officer. Mr. Showen joined the company with more than 15 years of experience in design and implementation of lean manufacturing processes and business development, Tire Factory said. He will be responsible for helping to implement new point-of-sale and enterprise resource planning systems.
Most recently, he served as director of operations for Radiall Corp., which developed OnStar's first antenna technology for General Motors Corp.
Meanwhile, Big O Tires Inc. has named Koichiro ``Kyle'' Iwasawa president of franchise business. He was formerly president and chief operating officer of Treadways Corp.
In this newly created position, Mr. Iwasawa is responsible for developing a new Franchise Business Model (FBM) and the associated services and processes to support this new model for the company's franchisees.
``The FBM is being implemented by the company to better focus on the customer and to make the necessary changes to help the company and its franchisees to work more efficiently in meeting customers' needs and expectations,'' said Big O President John Adams. ``The addition of this new position underscores TBC's commitment to this new business model and on meeting our goal of becoming a world class franchising company.''
Big O's parent, TBC Corp., was acquired last year by Treadways' parent, Sumitomo Corp. of America. Mr. Iwasawa had been president and COO of Treadways only since April. He has 27 years' experience with Sumitomo Industries, including positions in marketing and business operations.
Mr. Iwasawa will relocate from Japan to Big O's corporate offices in Centennial, Colo.
Big O serves more than 540 franchised stores, primarily in the Western and Midwestern states, and also distributes tires and other automotive service products to associated dealers in Western Canada.
Yokohama Tire Corp. also announced recent personnel changes to its off-the-road tire team. Michael Baggett was named Eastern OTR sales manager, and Tim Easter was promoted to national OTR fleet and OEM manager.
Mr. Baggett will be responsible for OTR sales on the East Coast, from Florida to Maine. He has worked in the OTR field for more than 30 years, Yokohama said. He will be based in Santa Rosa, Fla.
Mr. Easter, a seven-year veteran of Yokohama, will focus on the company's national account business as well as original equipment manufacturer business. He is based in Milton, W.Va.