TOKYO (Oct. 3)—Bridgestone Corp. Chairman Yoichiro Kaizaki has told Nikkei Business and the Associated Press that Masatoshi Ono will be asked to step down as chairman and CEO of Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. Ono may remain with Bridgestone, but his role has not yet been determined, AP quoted Kaizaki as saying. The company earlier denied rumors that Ono would take early retirement. Ono became CEO of Bridgestone´s U.S. subsidiary when Kaizaki became chairman of the parent firm, and was named chairman three years later. For the past two months, Ono and Bridgestone/Firestone have faced an avalanche of negative publicity because of the company´s recall of 6.5 million Firestone ATX and Wilderness AT tires. Just before the AP news story surfaced, it was made known that Ono had withdrawn as keynote speaker at the ACS Rubber Division fall meeting and Mini-Expo in Cincinnati Oct. 17-19.