AKRON (Oct. 1)—Robert J. Keegan, Goodyear president and chief operating officer, will take over as CEO at the beginning of 2003, the company announced. The Akron tire maker's board of directors made the decision Oct. 1. Keegan, 55, will supplant current CEO Samir G. Gibara, who will remain as Goodyear chairman of the board. Gibara, 63, a 35-year company veteran, has been CEO since Jan. 1, 1996, and chairman since July 1 of that year. Gibara also will chair a newly formed executive committee of the board of directors, the firm said. There has been much speculation of Gibara´s replacement as CEO in the past year, given Goodyear´s weak financial performance and plummeting stock price. The price of Goodyear shares hit a peak in the mid-$70 range during the first half of 1998, but sank into single digits for the first time in more than 11 years the week of Sept. 23.