Bridgestone Americas Announces New Leadership for Firestone Natural Rubber

NASHVILLE, Tenn (August, 28, 2018) Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (Bridgestone) today announced Ed Garcia, current president and managing director, Firestone Liberia (FSLB), will retire effective October 1, after more than 36 years with the company.  Bridgestone Americas and Firestone Natural Rubber (FSNR) veteran Rick Burnett will success Ed as president, FSLB, also effective October 1.

“Ed is a well-respected and trusted leader, not only within Bridgestone, but across our industry and internationally,” said Bill Thompson,, chief operating officer (COO), Bridgestone Americas. “His work contributed to establishing FSLB as a leader in the natural rubber industry and an agricultural employer of choice for Liberians, with a proven track record of investing to improve conditions in Liberian overall. On behalf of the entire executive leadership team and all our teammates, we thank him for his service and wish him the very best in his retirement.”

Burnett will assume his new role with the nearly 13 years of experience with Bridgestone in a variety of roles, combined with 10 years of business experience prior to joining Bridgestone. he will be supported in his new responsibilities by a strong leadership team, to include Tod Knopp, general manager and vice president of operations, FSLB, and Don Darden, vice president of administration, FSLB.

“After nearly 15 years of diligent efforts to realize normalized operations and contribute to Liberia’s continued economic recovery, we’re squarely in the midst of new milestone moments for Firestone Liberia,” said Thompson.  “We are confident Rick’s expertise gives him the depth of knowledge and understanding of the Firestone Natural Rubber business required to lead FSLB, while his tenure with Bridgestone gives him the ability to foster greater understanding among various stakeholders and continue strengthening our business.”

Burnett currently servers as finance director for Bridgestone Americas, where he is the finance lead assessing the future direction of the company’s extensive and diverse business portfolio.  Burnett has ser ed as a member of the leadership team and the board of Firestone Natural Rubber since 2013, and has extensive experiences in accounting and business operations, as well as managing complex mergers, acquisitions and divestitures.  Burnett’s pervious experience with the company includes serving as director of finance, Commercial Tire Sales, within Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, (BATO), where he led the finance team for the Commercial Tire business group; leading the financial planning & analysis team for Bridgestone Americas; and holding various roles in logistics supply chain management, strategic  supply planning, and internal audit.

Burnett will continue to serve on the board of Firestone Natural Rubber. Both Knopp and Darden have been named FSLB officers and will join the board of managers as vice president of operation and vice president of administration, respectively.

Burnett earned his bachelor’s degree in finance form the University of Arizona and his master’s degree in international business form Thunderbird School of Global Management.

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About Bridgestone Americas, Inc.:

Nashville, Tenn. – based Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM) is the U.S. subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s largest tire and rubber company. BSAM and it’s subsidiaries develop, manufacture and market a wide range of Bridgestone Firestone and associate brand tires to address the needs of a broad range of customers, including consumers, automotive and commercial vehicle original equipment manufacturers, and those in the agricultural, forestry and mining industries. The companies are engaged in retreading operations throughout the Western Hemisphere and produce air springs, roofing materials, and industrial fibers and textiles. The BSAM family of companies also operates the word’s largest chain of automotive tire and service centers. Guided by it’s One Team, One Planet message, the company is dedicated to achieving a positive environmental impact in all the communities it calls home.  

About Firestone Natural Rubber Company, LLC:

Firestone Natural Rubber Company, LLC traces its origins back to 1926 when The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company first established a natural rubber production facility in Liberia, West Africa. The company operates a 118,000-acre rubber growing and processing facility, employing approximately 7,000 teammates who harvest and process natural rubber. After processing, the natural rubber is shipped to Bridgestone America’s tire plants in North America for the manufacture of tires. Firestone Natural Rubber Company, LLC is a subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas, Inc.