Mr. Pantioukhov will be Nokian's interim top executive until June 1, when recently hired Hille Korhonen assumes her duties as CEO. Thereafter he will continue as executive vice president of Nokian Tyres and as general manager, Russian operations.
Nokian expects to keep its North American headquarters in Essex Junction, Vt.
North America represented 11 percent of the tire maker's global sales last year, or roughly $165 million, down from 12 percent in fiscal 2015.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said the recent passage by the Tennessee General Assembly of the IMPROVE Act — Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy — was critical to attracting Nokian to Tennessee.
The Act provides manufacturing companies the option to use a "single weighted sales factor," which the state claims makes it more competitive when recruiting new manufacturing companies and jobs.
The state declined at this time to elaborate on the type of assistance, economic or otherwise, it's providing for the project, nor quantify its value, but said it would discuss them in more detail once all the contracts are finalized.
Rhea (County) Economic & Tourism Council Executive Director Dennis Tumlin said this investment is the single largest initial job announcement by a private company in Rhea County history.
The plant will be the seventh tire factory in Tennessee. Bridgestone Americas and Carlstar Group L.L.C. both operate two and Specialty Tires of America one. Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. is opening a plant this year in Clarksville.
Tennessee is considered the No. 5 state in the U.S. in terms of tire manufacturing, with nearly 52,000 units a day of combined capacity and 3,675 employees. The Hankook plant will add about 18,000 units of capacity and 1,200 workers at full capacity.