NASHVILLE, Tenn.—After serving 34 years with Bridgestone Americas Inc., John Baratta, president, consumer replacement tire sales, U.S. & Canada, will retire March 1, the company announced. Erik Seidel, vice president, consumer replacement tire sales, will step into the vacated position.
"John has been an outstanding member of our team, and his contributions to the consumer tire group have been fundamental to the growth and success of Bridgestone Americas," TJ Higgins, president, integrated consumer tire division, U.S. & Canada, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, said in statement.
"We wish John the very best in retirement and are excited for Erik to take on this role," Higgins added. "Erik shares John's passion for our customers, and he is the right person to build upon the success of John's leadership."
Baratta began his career at Bridgestone in 1983 as a sales manager with what was then Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. While gaining experiences is many facets of the tire operations, Baratta ascended through the ranks of the Bridgestone consumer tire business, assuming his current position as president of consumer replacement for North America in 2008.
Seidel, came to Bridgestone in 2013 as vice president of brand marketing for the consumer tire business, having previously worked with Kimberly-Clark Corp., where he managed a number of brands, including Viva towels, the Scott brand and the Huggies brand of diapers and wipes.
At Bridgestone, Seidel led the company's brand-building efforts and developed product launches, including the introduction of the DriveGuard tire line. He was promoted to his current position in 2015 and worked alongside Baratta, where "he has successfully delivered growth and driven new product development across North America," Bridgestone said. Among Seidel's other accomplishments, Bridgestone cites delivery of new technology — such as TireConnect — and other tools that allow dealers to reach consumers online and drive sales.
"Erik has quickly demonstrated his ability to strengthen relationships, build trust and drive growth," Baratta said in a statement. "I am excited for him to take on this role and have full confidence that his leadership will allow Bridgestone to achieve our vision of becoming an indispensable business partner."
Seidel earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA and a master's degree in manufacturing management from Northwestern University.