AKRON—Goodyear Chairman and CEO Robert Keegan told shareholders at the tire maker´s annual meeting that Goodyear has made significant strides since its turnaround effort was launched in 2003.
"Our dealers are noticing a different, in fact a whole new level of commitment and energy in Goodyear and are complimenting us on changes they are seeing," Keegan told shareholders April 26 at the company´s headquarters in Akron. "These changes are generating improved business results for their companies as well. Our own associates are talking about ´The New Goodyear.´ That is a huge step forward for us."
Keegan also highlighted several accomplishments, including successful product launches, a profitable North American Tire unit and the first annual profit since 2000. But he continued to indicate that work remains for the tire maker.
During the meeting, shareholders also elected directors Gary Forsee, Denise Morrison and Thomas Weidemeyer to three-year terms and directors John Breen and William Hudson Jr. to one-year terms.
But shareholders rejected by 55 percent to 11 percent a new shareholder proposal that would have required Goodyear to not pay—without first gaining shareholder approval—any executive compensation in excess of the amount the Internal Revenue Service allows to be deducted as a federal income tax expense. The company could pay "performance-based compensation" in excess of this limit as long as the company discloses to shareholders the performance goals and standards the board used.
In 2004, Keegan was awarded a $2.6 million bonus in addition to his salary of $1.05 million. Jon Rich, president of North American Tire, received a bonus of $680,000 plus his salary of $420,000.
Asked by a shareholder about the level of executive compensation, Keegan said the levels were set based on the company´s "significant progress" in 2004.
"I think the compensation is consistent with the progress that was made," he said.