MUMBAI, IndiaBalkrishna Industries Ltd. has hired Shawn Rasey, former head of Bridgestone Americas' mining tire business, to be president, BKT Americas' OTR Division.
Concurrently, BKT disclosed it will open an office in Brentwood, Tenn., for the OTR Group. BKT Tires USA Inc.'s headquarters will remain in Akron, according to Carl Casalbore, president of the U.S. business unit.
Mr. Rasey brings 35 years' tire industry experience to his job with BKT, where he is tasked with helping build a world-class mining and construction OTR tire business in the Americas, BKT said.
Mr. Rasey left Bridgestone in August 2012 as vice president, Bridgestone Mining Solutions, and has been an independent consultant since. He was with Bridgestone from 2005-12 in a variety of positions in the OTR tire sector, including president of Bridgestone Americas Off Road for three years.
BKT credits Mr. Rasey with being a key driver in Bridgestone's decision to build OTR manufacturing capacity in the U.S.
He also was with Yokohama Tire Corp.'s OTR business unit for two years.
In his new position, Mr. Rasey will report to Rajiv Poddar, BKT joint managing director.
Creating the OTR business unit reflects a change in BKT's strategy in the Americas, Mr. Casalbore said. Moving forward, he added, BKT has divided its business into three segments: agricultural, industrial/construction and OTR.
The OTR segment up to now was the most underdeveloped for BKT in the Americas, he noted, so this move will provide a strong base for growth. BKT already has two salespeople for the U.S. and one each for Canada and Latin America/South America.
Mr. Casalbore said in BKT's view, the OTR segment will be for tires above 33 inches in rim diameter. In most cases, BKT will be recruiting new dealers for this segment, since the company feels most of its existing customers are not active in that sector. Existing dealers will, however, be given the first right of refusal to carry the OTR lines should they show interest.
BKT's largest tires now are 51 inches in rim diameter, he said, with 57-inch fitments in development.