GREENVILLE, S.C.—Michelin North America has named Tony Menard its director of motorsports, succeeding Chris Baker, who is scheduled to retire in March 2020 after a 38-year career with the tire maker.
Mr. Menard, currently global business leader for Michelin brand in the passenger vehicle category, relocated to Greenville from France earlier this year in preparation for the move, Michelin said.
The appointment is effective Jan. 1.
A native of Le Mans, France, Menard has held several executive positions during his 30-year Michelin career, including several years leading the company's marketing efforts in East Asia.
"Chris has played a vital role in the growth and success of our motorsports program, both for BFGoodrich and Michelin in North America," said Matthieu Bonardel, global director for Michelin Group's motorsports business entity.
"His passion and understanding for motorsport fueled growth in the organization and established credibility in the market. Chris's leadership propelled the group, which experienced tremendous success with race wins, and advanced the way the brands leveraged our motorsports participation to benefit the overall business."
Baker oversaw the development of the motorsports function for Michelin and BFGoodrich Tires brands as a single business unit in North America. He also directed the expansion of Michelin's involvement in IMSA sports-car racing as the "Official Tire of IMSA" and BFGoodrich Tire's partnership with SCORE International Racing as the "Official Tire of SCORE."
During his tenure, BFGoodrich-equipped vehicles achieved an unprecedented 650 off-road class wins, including five overall victories in the Baja 1000.
Other racing venues where the brand is active include the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX5 Cup, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing and Ultra4 King of Hammers, as well as grass-roots racing with the Sports Car Club of America, National Auto Sport Association and Super Production Challenge in Canada.
"I am incredibly grateful to Michelin for the opportunities and support throughout my career, and to all the folks that I have worked with and continue to work with," Baker said.
"I want to thank all the teams, partners, officials and fans who have made our relationships so successful and are essential to the brands' successes. I look forward to witnessing the continued success of our motorsports programs under Tony's leadership, as well as the contributions of the Michelin Motorsport North America staff and volunteers, who are completely dedicated and invested in representing our brands in competition."
The transition comes at a time when Michelin's involvement in motorsports in North America is at an all-time high. Most prominently, Michelin is the designated race tire supplier for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and its two major challenge series.