Bridgestone’s new UK managing director is Robin Shaw (pictured), who replaced John McNaught with responsibility for UK, Ireland and the Nordic countries.
The short term priorities for the former Bosch director are to continue meeting senior staff members, customers and industry colleagues, while continuing to strengthen his senior management team, which will be boosted with the arrival of a new consumer sales director this month.
Longer term, exploring new channels will form just one of many projects, including the continued revitalisation of the Firestone brand.
“I don’t believe Bridgestone’s local reputation is as big as the brand itself, he said. “The brand does give us a great base to work from though.”
“One task is to instil more belief in our ability to succeed, along with a desire to do things that little bit better. We should aspire to raise ourselves up a level.
“Our intention is to bring in a director responsible for business development. The role will be responsible for facilitating a number of positive changes in 2015,” he said.
Shaw pointed to a number of successes with premium aftermarket brands and said there was no reason for not achieving similar results with Bridgestone.
He also drew parallels between Bridgestone and Bosch, the global manufacturer and supplier of vehicle safety products, where he worked as managing director.
“I’ve always liked working with brands and I see a lot of parallels between the two,” he added.
“Both are premium brands, both are underrepresented in the UK market and both operate in markets which are driven by price.
“You can’t change everybody’s minds about price but you can demonstrate value for money. The sector’s obsession with price certainly represents a challenge, but it certainly isn’t impossible to grow premium brands.
“People care about their families’ safety and wellbeing. As an industry we need to get a clear ‘value for money’ message across to motorists, and that our premium products are amongst the safest and most durable anywhere.”
Finally, Shaw is keen to position Bridgestone closer to the automotive industry charity BEN.
Robin was made a vice president in 2001 and appointed as trustee for the charity in 2003, which exists to provide care and support to people in the industry who have entered times of hardship and distress.