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Bridgestone/Firestone’s Gamauf to Retire

Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire announced that John K. Gamauf, president of consumer replacement tire sales; vice president of BFNAT; and member of the board of directors of BFNAT, has elected to retire effective May 1, 2008.

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Succeeding Gamauf will be John Baratta, the company’s current vice president of North American consumer tires sales. Baratta’s successor will be named at a later date. Gamauf will continue to serve on BFNAT’s board.

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Mark A. Emkes, Chairman and CEO of BFNAT and its parent company, Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc., said, “I would like to thank John Gamauf on behalf of the entire Bridgestone Americas team for the great job he has done during his long, successful career with our company. Under his leadership, he and his team have developed the best consumer tire dealer network in the country. Not only has he grown our consumer replacement tire sales to record levels, he’s also done a tremendous job developing the individuals who make up his team. The result is the deepest and most talented bench in the industry. John’s truly ‘done it all’ when it comes to retail tire sales.”

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Commenting on his retirement, Gamauf said, “It’s been my privilege to lead a sales and marketing organization that is the best in the business, and to work with a dealer organization that is the most loyal, most effective and strongest distribution network in the country. Our organization and dealer network are thriving, so after almost 39 years with the only company I’ve ever worked for, the time is right for me to step aside and make room for the next generation of leaders. I’m excited for our company and our dealers that John Baratta will be that leader for the Consumer Replacement Tire Sales group.”

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Gamauf began his career with the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company in 1969 as a part-time general service technician at a company-owned store in Chicago. While still attending Lewis College, he was promoted and began what would be his career and his passion: selling passenger tires. Following his graduation with a degree in Business Management in 1973, Gamauf’s career rocketed upward. After serving as a manager in a company-owned store, he accepted positions of increasing responsibility, including zone manager in the company’s northeast zone, headquartered in Hartford, Conn. In 1984 Gamauf shifted his focus to the wholesale side of the business, rising quickly in that organization to positions such as director of Dayton sales; executive director of Firestone replacement tire sales; and national manager of affiliate brands. He was promoted to executive director of dealer sales in 1993 and in 1995 to division vice president of dealer sales. He was promoted to his current position in 2003.
Among his many accomplishments, Gamauf was responsible for the creation of one of the most successful dealer programs in the industry, the Affiliated Dealer Program. That initiative is now a core component of BFNAT’s “Family Channel philosophy.” (Tire Review/Akron)

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