Bridgestone Americas, Inc. announced that Tom Lehner has been named its vice president, government relations, effective immediately.
In this role, Lehner will be responsible for the strategic direction and management of the company’s government relationships, including political affairs and public policy advocacy with U.S. federal, state and local governments, as well as developing government relations strategies for Latin America and Canada. In addition, he will advise on compliance, risk, legislation and policy issues within the industries Bridgestone serves and lead the company’s involvement in national industry trade associations.
“As the No. 1 tire and rubber manufacturer in the world, Bridgestone plays a major role in influencing public policy in support of our industry,” said Chris Karbowiak, chief administrative officer for Bridgestone Americas. “With the rapid change that will occur in the automotive industry over the next several years, including advanced vehicle technology and autonomous vehicles, among other things, it is critical Bridgestone continues to have a strong point of view on policy that aligns with both our business strategy and our way of doing business. Tom’s background in the automotive industry and strong record of leadership working with CEOs, elected officials and trade associations will help strengthen our position and build relationships in Washington and beyond.”
Prior to joining Bridgestone, Lehner spent more than five years as vice president of public policy for the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA), where he represented the largest manufacturing sector in the U.S. in support of issues such as connected vehicles, fuel economy and telematics operations among others. From 2009-2012, he served as vice president of government and industry affairs for Toyota, where he led government affairs and regulatory team in Washington D.C. that represented the company’s North American business units and global affiliates. Lehner has also served in leadership roles for Business Roundtable and was chairman of the Executive Committee of the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers. His government experience includes working for six U.S. senators, including as chief of staff to Senator Charles S. Robb of Virginia. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Political Science from San Francisco State University.