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Dan King leaving Yokohama, takes job at TWI

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CORONA, Calif.—You might say that with his upcoming new adventure, Dan King's career has come full circle.

After spending nearly 25 years in various executive positions for Yokohama Tire Corp. (YTC), most recently as senior vice president of sales and marketing, Mr. King is leaving the tire maker to join West Coast wholesaler Tire's Warehouse Inc. (TWI)

He will be jumping right in at Corona-based TWI April 8, just three days after his last day at YTC, for the newly created post of president.

Mr. King told Tire Business he was given a “tremendous opportunity” to join “one of the most dominant” distributors in California, with the goal of helping take the company to a higher level.

TWI has been in business more than 30 years, he said, and has “grown into one of the best wholesalers on the West Coast. I'm joining a great team at a company with a great reputation.”

At TWI he will become part of an executive triumvirate headed by brothers Eric and Larry Helmle, who own the company. Eric Helmle will assume the post of chairman of the board and Larry will become TWI's CEO, Mr. King said, noting with his hiring the company decided to initiate a new structure and make some changes. Previously, the Helmles had shared running the operation without anyone in the post of president.

With the excitement of a new challenge comes the sadness of leaving a job where Mr. King has been a fixture, not only in the executive suite but on dealer and journalist ride-and-drive events, race tracks, you name it. “I've been integrated into this company (Yokohama) for such a long time. It's kind of tough to leave,” he said.

He has held a number of titles during his long stint at Fullerton, Calif.-based YTC, including vice president, director of consumer tires and director of marketing.

Joining a tire wholesaler brings Mr. King back to a place in the tire industry where his roots lie. He grew up changing tires at a California tire store owned by his father, and his brothers own a dealership in Orange County, Calif.

He had nothing but praise for Yokohama, and said TWI has a “strong supplier relationship” with the tire maker that will continue after Mr. King joins the distributor. TWI also handles most major brands, including Bridgestone, Firestone, Hankook and some Chinese brands, he added.

Meanwhile, YTC's Tokyo-based parent company, Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. (YRC), announced that Norio Karashima, YTC's former president and CEO, is returning there as executive adviser, effective April 1.

“Mr. Karashima has a deep understanding of YRC's long-term plans, goals and capabilities at the highest level,” said Yasushi Tanaka, YTC's president and CEO. “Coupled with his extensive knowledge of the market and the dealer network in the U.S., he is in a unique position to advise our executive management team and make the strategies we have put together that much stronger in steadily growing our sales.”

YTC said Mr. Karashima joined YRC in 1976 and has held several executive positions in his career, including being named president of Yokohama Reifen in Germany in 2002, president of YTC in 2004 and president of Yokohama Rubber (China) in 2008. His most recent title was director and executive vice president, chief global marketing officer.

Yokohama's naming a successor to Mr. King came in after Tire Business' presstime.



To reach this reporter: smikolajczyk@crain.com; 330-865-6130.
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