FINDLAY, Ohio—Thomas A. Dattilo has resigned as chairman, president and CEO of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. to "pursue another opportunity," the Findlay-based tire company said Aug. 3.
Byron O. Pond, a member of Cooper´s board of directors since 1998, has been elected interim CEO and will serve in that capacity while a permanent successor is chosen, the company said. Pond will join two other directors, Arthur Aronson and John Shuey, in an "Office of the Chairman," which will oversee governance of the company during the search process for a new leader.
"We appreciate Thomas Dattilo´s service to the company," the Cooper board of directors said in a statement. "Under Mr. Dattilo´s stewardship, the company experienced revenue growth worldwide and expanded aggressively into China through the acquisition of Chengshan Tire Co. Ltd. and a greenfield joint venture with Kenda Rubber Industrial Co. Ltd. We wish him only the best."
Dattilo came to Cooper in January 1999 as president and CEO, joining the company from Dana Corp., where he was president of its sealing products business. He became chairman at Cooper in June 2000 when Patrick Rooney retired.
Cooper said it is committed to finding a permanent successor to Dattilo "who will continue to implement the company´s strategy and work aggressively to improve operating margins through profitable growth, cost improvement and exceptional customer service."
John Holland will serve as chair of the board´s search committee. The Cooper board said the search will be focused on candidates with proven track records in the automotive or other durable goods industries and sound operating experience in managing growth and cost in a global corporation.
The board said it has engaged the executive search firm of Spencer Stuart to assist in the process, and will conduct a thorough but expeditious search that will result in securing the best possible candidate.
Pond retired in 1999 from Arvin Industries, where he served as CEO, and in a post-retirement role most recently served as CEO of Amcast Industrial Corp.
The news of Dattilo´s departure came the same morning the firm released its second-quarter results.
Citing weak replacement demand in North America and high raw material costs, the company posted an operating loss of $25.9 million in the three-month period. Its net loss was $20.7 million, including $8 million of restructuring costs. Sales jumped 22 percent to $624.8 million, largely because of the purchase of Chengshan.
For the first half of the year, Cooper posted sales of $1.22 billion-up 19 percent-and a net loss of $25.9 million.