NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Bridgestone Americas Inc. has made a series of upper-level executive changes as part of its strategy to strengthen its core tire business and accelerate its initiative to become a global leader in mobility solutions.
Among those affected are: Riccardo Cichi, currently chief sales officer for Bridgestone Europe, Middle East, India & Africa: Eric Higgs, currently president of truck, bus and retread tires; and Chris Ripani, currently president of GCR Tires & Service.
These moves build upon global leadership changes that Bridgestone announced in late January and will align resources better to global and local objectives while also prioritizing higher growth opportunities.
Among those affected by the global changes was Gabriel Asbun, CEO and chief operating officer of Bridgestone Asia Pacific, who was named to take over as Americas Tire group president, effective at the end of March.
"These strategic leadership changes will enable Bridgestone to continue to successfully meet the needs of our customers in a dynamic and changing world," according to Paolo Ferrari, president, CEO & COO, Bridgestone Americas, since Jan. 15. Mr. Ferrari, who was Pirelli Tire North America's top executive from 2011 to 2014, joined Bridgestone in 2016 as president of Bridgestone Europe.
These latest leadership changes will take effect March 16:
• Mr. Cichi has been named president and chief sales officer, North America, a newly created role that calls for the longtime industry veteran to lead a consolidated sales organization for the consumer replacement and commercial truck, bus and retread tire businesses in the U.S. and Canada, including the GCR commercial service network.
Mr. Cichi brings more than 30 years of global tire industry expertise to his new role. Mr. Cichi, who joined Bridgestone in 2017 after 27 years with Pirelli & C. S.p.A. in North America, will report to Mr. Asbun.
• Mr. Higgs was named senior vice president, marketing operations, a new position. In this role, Mr. Higgs will be tasked with helping shape the future of Bridgestone Americas' tire and solutions business and create synergies between the marketing and sales organizations. He joined Bridgestone in 2016 as vice president of commercial marketing.
• Chris Ripani, a 20-plus-year Bridgestone veteran, will succeed Mr. Higgs as president, truck, bus and retread tires and GCR, reporting to Mr. Cichi. Mr. Ripani has held a variety of strategic sales, marketing and operations roles at the company's commercial businesses.
• Brian Goldstine, senior vice president, fleet management solutions for the commercial tire business, will take on the expanded role of president, mobility solutions and fleet management for Bridgestone Americas, with responsibility for scaling mobility solutions for Bridgestone Americas.
This change will integrate all existing resources dedicated to fleet management and mobility solutions into one organization, Bridgestone said, accelerating the company's focus in this area. A Bridgestone executive since 2017, Mr. Goldstine will report to Mr. Asbun.
• Craig Schneider, currently president, diversified businesses, will take on an expanded role as president, enterprise strategy, corporate development and diversified businesses. In this new role, Mr. Schneider will have responsibility for enterprise strategy, portfolio and analytics, mergers and acquisitions and strategic initiatives, while also continuing to lead the company's diversified businesses. Before joining Bridgestone in 2017, Mr. Schneider held a variety of operations, retail and sales leadership roles at Shell Oil and Capgemini.
In addition, Bridgestone said Erik Seidel will continue in his role as president, consumer replacement tire sales, U.S. and Canada, but now reporting to Mr. Cichi.