HANOVER, Germany—Continental A.G.made a series of structural changes in its tire businesses that are aimed to bring the German tire maker closer to its customers, including creating a "Specialty Tires" business unit that incorporates the activities of the commercial specialty tires, two-wheel tires and Hoosier Racing Tire businesses.
The move, effective July 1, brings under one umbrella the development, manufacture and distribution of agricultural, materials-handling, construction, bicycle, motorcycle and racing tires.
Wolfgang Thomale, previously the head of the passenger/light truck channel management for retail throughout Central Europe, is responsible for the new business unit as well as for the commercial specialty tires sector within the unit. He brings over 30 years of experience at Continental to this new position.
Thomas Falke and Joerg Burfien will continue to head the two-wheel and racing tires areas, respectively, businesses they've overseen since 2014 and early 2020.
"With the new business unit, we are following the path we embarked on to consistently align all activities in the tires business area with the customer," Christian Koetz, head of Continental's tires business area, said in a statement. "We are merging niche segments with highly specialized requirements on the part of customers in order to develop solutions and services even more quickly and flexibly and to gradually expand our product range in the interests of our customers."
At the same time, Continental merged the passenger and truck tire replacement businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, to create the new "Replacement Tires EMEA" business unit.
To be headed by Philipp von Hirschheydt, the transformation will see the sales of passenger car, van and truck tires managed in an integrated manner, Continental said.
Instead of product categories, the new organization is structured primarily according to customer groups, such as major international key accounts, fleet customers, OEM after-sales customers, or customers in emerging markets, said the German supplier.
In addition, previously separate central functions, including the marketing and e-business departments, have been merged under the new structure to achieve greater synergy.
One particular objective, Continental said, is to "quickly and effectively" establish digital structures to "optimize and personalize" the customer experience.
"The completion of the reorganization measures marks a milestone for us," von Hirschheydt said, noting that the move will allow Continental to serve its customers "in an optimal way" and strengthens its market position throughout the region.
"The merger will make us even more efficient and allow us to connect knowhow from previously separate entities and utilize it for the benefit of our customers," he added.
Under the new structure, Constantin Batsch, former head of the truck tires replacement business in the EMEA region, will be responsible for managing the fleet solutions department as well as overall tire sales in Northern and Eastern Europe.
Ralf Benack, former head of the truck fleet business, will be responsible for the strategic management and orientation of the specialist department for truck, passenger car and van fleet customers.
Roland Welzbacher will be managing sales in Southern Europe and the OEM after-sales department in the new structure.
Frauke Wieckberg will be responsible for the strategic management of the OEM after-sales department, which focuses on customers from the car dealership and truck trading branches.
Jon-Ander Garcia will continue to manage and develop regional sales in emerging markets in the Middle East and Africa as well as in Turkey and Russia.
Juergen Marth, currently head of the ContiTrade distribution network, will take over responsibility for regional sales in Central Europe and the international key account business, duties assigned for now to Thomale.
Enno Straten, the former head of the commercial specialty tires business unit, will assume overall responsibility for the new business unit's strategy, analytics and marketing.