SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Sumitomo Rubber North America Inc. (SRNA) navigates an ocean of challenges with a steady hand.
CEO Darren Thomas, appointed at the start of the year, for example, has been with the company since 2001. Former CEO Richard Smallwood, with the company since 2000, is now chairman of the SRNA board.
As far as leadership and vision, Thomas said, "nothing has changed from that perspective" — the steady hand in the storm.
SRNA, based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., knows where it's going, and much of it can be related to "volume." The company is turning the volume down on outside commercial pressures and turning the volume up on Falken's brand power.
The firm's team is growing, the Falken portfolio is expanding and becoming more robust, and SRNA's tire plant in Tonawanda, N.Y., is nearly doubling capacity.
These are all plans long in the works, the course has been set, and the challenges that come are being mitigated, Thomas said during the Falken tire dealer trip, held in San Juan in early August.
"In the next year or so, our focus is going to be as closely as possible aligning our business strategy with the commercial demands of the markets place and commercial pressures," he said. "Right now, it's outside commercial pressures that are dictating the moves of brands; that is not natural in terms of brand movement."