AKRON (March 14) — Jon Rich, president of Goodyear North American Tire unit since December 2002, is leaving the Akron-based tire maker to "pursue other leadership options."
A Goodyear spokesman would not specify those options, but he said Rich often has indicated his desire to run a company. "Now is his time to pursue that," the spokesman said.
Rich, 51, has been a visible member of Goodyear´s executive team throughout the firm´s turnaround and the recent United Steelworkers strike. He joined the firm in 2000 and was named president of the chemical division in 2001.
He will be succeeded by Richard Kramer, executive vice president and chief financial officer. Kramer, 43, will continue as CFO until the firm names a replacement.
"He knows the business, knows the customers and understands the challenges," Chairman and CEO Robert Keegan said of Kramer. "I believe Rich is the ideal leader to take the North American Tire business to the next level of performance."
Darren Wells, previously senior vice president, business development and treasurer, will succeed Kramer as senior vice president of finance and strategy. Wells will retain his finance responsibilities.
The changes all are effective immediately.
Keegan in a statement also thanked Rich for the "significant contributions that he made in helping to create the foundation for the future success of the North American business."