AKRON—Manny Cicero likes challenges.
That makes him a good fit with Triangle Tyre Group Ltd., China's second largest tire manufacturer, which is looking to take another giant step on its growth path, this time taking dead aim at the large, but somewhat congested U.S. tire market.
That's a tall order because the company is doing it without the benefit of a tire production plant in the U.S. And there are no plans at this point to add a factory, although the possibility does exist.
But in Cicero's mind, building a strong business in the U.S. is doable, with or without a domestic tire factory.
Officially named CEO in January of Triangle Tyre's newly formed subsidiary, Triangle Tire USA, the veteran tire industry executive is wasting little time in getting the word out on the company, how serious it is about creating a significant presence in the U.S., and its plans in the country.
He was selected for the top post at the subsidiary because of his “considerable experience in all segments of the tire industry and proven management skills,” Ding Yuhua, chairman of Weihai, China-based Triangle Tyre Group, said when Cicero was named CEO.
Cicero began his tire industry career at Michelin Tire Co. in 1978, where he worked in sales and marketing before joining Bridgestone in 1984 as a territory manager.
He moved up the ladder and in 1999 was named president of Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire L.L.C.'s Off-the-Road Tires Sales Group, a position he held until 2005 when he left Bridgestone to become president and CEO of Denman Tire Corp.
Cicero headed Denman until 2007 when he resigned in May. In October of that year he was named president of Alliance Tire USA, the U.S. arm of Israel's Alliance Tire Co. Ltd. He held that post until 2014, when he left the firm to become an industry consultant.