ALLEN PARK, Mich.Family-owned tire retailer and wholesaler Belle Tire Distributors Inc. has promoted Don Barnes III to company president from president of retail operations and hired industry outsider Jack Lawless to be CEO.
Mr. Lawless, 54, will work with Mr. Barnes III, 32, in overseeing the entire organization, according to the Allen Park-based dealership's owners Don Barnes Jr. and Bob Barnes.
Belle Tire said that together, they will work along with the other members of the leadership team to continue Belle Tire's cadence for growth, which most recently includes expansion into Indiana, the first new territory in 30 years.
Mr. Lawless, previously president and CEO for Troy, Mich.-based Champion Enterprises, a modular homebuilding firm, replaces Steven Craig, who led the company the past two years and, according to Belle, helpedalong with the other members of the executive teamcreate the company's current structure.
Belle said Champion Enterprises doubled its U.S. market share in four years under Mr. Lawless.
Mr. Lawless said he is very pleased to be a part of such an iconic brand. I look forward to working with the Barnes family and the entire Belle Tire team to continue its commitment to providing the best auto service and tire buying options in the industry.
Mr. Barnes III is the third generation working in the business that began with his grandfather, followed by his father and uncle. Belle said he has worked for the dealership for more than 10 years.
His new role will allow him to continue his family's tradition of top-shelf customer service, maintaining Belle Tire's place as one of Michigan's outstanding family companies and offering the 'Lowest Tire Price, Period,' according to the dealership.
The company, founded in 1922 in Detroit, said Mr. Barnes III also will continue to oversee day-to-day operations of Belle's 90-lus locations in Michigan, northern Ohio and Indiana.
The continued success of Belle Tire is our primary goal, and the addition of Jack to our leadership team will help us forge ahead with our tradition of growth here in the Midwest, Mr. Barnes III said.
In addition to the appointments of Messrs. Lawless and Barnes III, Belle Tire made two additional changes:
c Wayne Shotwell was promoted to COO from vice president of logistics and asset management. He has been with Belle since 2006 and has led the company's in-store remodeling overhaul since 2012, impacting about 50 locations thus far. He also has played a major role in the logistical aspects of the Indiana expansion, the company said.
c Mike Schulmeister was named CFO last spring, joining Belle after several years as vice president controller at Dawn Food Products, a manufacturer and distributor of bakery food products with $2 billion in sales.
Completing the Belle executive team are Jim Peterson and Tom Bowman as vice president of human resources and vice president of the commercial division, respectively.
We have been working diligently to ensure that we get the right people in place to help keep things moving along progressively here at Belle Tire as they have since 1922, Don Barnes Jr. said. Wayne Shotwell, Mike Schulmeister, Jim Peterson and Tom Bowman fit perfectly into the context of our new leadership team with their unique experiences and expertise.
Belle Tire opened its first two stores in Indiana this summer and has two more outlets under construction there.
The dealership is in 11th place in the U.S. and 13th in North America on Tire Business' retail dealership ranking.