NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Dec. 13)—Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire L.L.C. has announced several management changes in its manufacturing and quality assurance functions. Nubuo Kawakami, president, Bridgestone/Firestone Manufacturing Operations, a manufacturing unit of BFNT, and an executive vice president of Bridgestone/Firestone Americas Holding Inc., has elected to retire effective March 31. Assuming Kawakami's responsibilities at BFMI is Masao Wada, plant manager of the firm's Aiken County, S.C., facility. Wada will be elected to the position of BFNT executive vice president manufacturing effective Feb. 1and Kawakami will be available to assist in the transition. Mike Rouse will succeed Wada at the company's Aiken County plant, where Rouse is currently the Aiken facility operation manager. The company also said that John McQuade, BFMO vice president of manufacturing, will accept a new assignment as a full-time member of the team responsible for the 2003 round of labor negotiations with the United Steelworkers of America. Negotiations are set to start in Spring 2003. Steve Brooks, currently vice president of quality assurance for both BFNT and BFAH, will become vice president of quality assurance for BFNT and BFAH, BFNT´s parent company.