Gary Garfield is President and Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Bridgestone Americas (BSAM) and Executive Vice President of Bridgestone Corporation. As CEO of BSAM, a subsidiary of the world’s largest tire and rubber company, Garfield oversees all BSAM operations across five continents. BSAM accounts for about 45 percent of the global revenue of Bridgestone operations worldwide, making it the company's largest subsidiary. With more than 55,000 teammates worldwide, BSAM manufactures and markets a wide range of tires for a variety of applications primarily under the Bridgestone and Firestone brands. Among other business units, BSAM also owns and operates the world’s largest automotive service and tire retailer, a world’s leading commercial roofing and building products company, and the worldwide leader in vehicle and equipment air spring technology. In March 2010, after serving as Vice President and General Counsel for three years, Garfield assumed the role of CEO and President of Bridgestone Americas, Inc. After being named Senior Vice President of Bridgestone Corporation in September 2014, Garfield was promoted to his current role, Executive Vice President in January 2016.
In 1991, Garfield joined then-Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. in Nashville, Tenn. serving as Senior Counsel. In 1995, he was promoted to the position of General Counsel for Bridgestone Firestone Tire Sales Company. In 2002, Garfield was named Vice President and General Counsel of Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC. In 2007, Garfield accepted the positions of Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Secretary of Bridgestone Americas, Inc., positions in which he had served in an “acting” capacity since 2006.
In addition to his work at Bridgestone, Garfield serves as a member of the board of directors of several charitable and industry organizations, including the Tennessee Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, the United Way of Middle Tennessee, Meharry Medical College, and the Rubber Manufacturer’s Association. Garfield also serves on the Steering Committee of Nashville’s Agenda. In January 2011, he joined the United Way of Metropolitan Nashville’s Board of Trustees. He joined the Board of Visitors – Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Business in 2011, and in 2012 was named National Chair for the Take Steps Be Heard walk program for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. He was a 2013 member of the Greater Nashville Executive Leadership Team for the American Heart Association and is serving as the 2015 Heart Walk Chairman. In 2015, Garfield was also elected to the Board of Directors for Piedmont Natural Gas, and the Rubber Manufacturers Association elected him to serve as the organization’s Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Garfield received his Bachelor of Arts degree in both Philosophy and Political Science from Wittenberg University and his law degree from the University of Cincinnati.
Gordon Knapp assumed his role as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM) in March 2014. As COO, he is responsible for ensuring the execution of day-to-day tasks necessary to achieve the company’s vision of undisputed leadership. As such, Knapp plays a key role in helping to oversee human resource alignments, operations strategy and policies, and works to foster employee alignment with corporate goals.
Under Knapp’s leadership, BSAM has strengthened its focus on delivering value to consumers through innovation and achieving operational excellence. Knapp brings invaluable experience, including a strong global mindset built by living and working in four different countries throughout his career.
Knapp joined the company in 2013 as President, Consumer Tire, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations North America. He previously served as President of the Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Family Care North Atlantic, Consumer Tissue Division, as well as President and Vice President of Pfizer, Inc., where he gained experience in leading operations for iconic brands such as Kleenex, Viva, Listerine and Schick.
Knapp received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Trent University, and his MBA from the University of Western Ontario.
With nearly 25 years of service with Bridgestone Americas, Inc., Christine Karbowiak is an Executive Vice President and serves as the company’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and Chief Risk Officer (CRO). In addition, she is a Vice President and Senior Officer of Bridgestone Corporation (BSJ), and also is a member of the boards of Bridgestone Americas, Inc., Bridgestone China Asia Pacific and Bridgestone Brands, LLC.
In her roles, Karbowiak oversees all of Bridgestone Americas’ risk, reputation management and human resources departments, including communications, environmental, corporate security, safety, industrial hygiene, and internal audit, as well as government relations.
Additionally, she chairs the Bridgestone Americas Board Audit Committee and serves on that Board’s Governance and Risk Committee. She also serves as Chair of the Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund. She is also a member of the Bridgestone International Organizing Committee, the global executive team charged with over-seeing Bridgestone’s activation of its TOP partnership with the International Olympic Committee.
Karbowiak joined Bridgestone Americas in Chicago at the company’s Retail Operations as Senior Counsel in 1992 and advanced to the position of Assistant General Counsel one year later. She proceeded to earn and occupy a number of expert legal roles and, in 1997, was named Division General Counsel for the company’s corporate and international operations based in Nashville, Tenn. Less than two years later, she became the Bridgestone/Firestone divisional Vice President of Public Affairs and eventually Vice President of Public Affairs for Bridgestone Americas in 2001. Four years later, Karbowiak expanded her responsibilities when she was elected Corporate Vice President for Public Affairs and again in 2009 when she was named Executive Vice President of Community & Corporate Relations and elected to the Board of Directors for Bridgestone Americas. In 2010, she was named Chief Administrative Officer & Executive Vice President, Bridgestone Americas and was elected Vice President and Officer of Bridgestone Corporation a year later. The following year she added responsibility as Chief Risk Officer, concurrent with her role as CAO. It was in 2014 that she added to her current responsibilities the Board duties for Bridgestone China Asia Pacific and was elected Vice President and Senior Officer of Bridgestone Corporation. Then in 2015, Karbowiak also took on the role of Acting Chief Human Resources Officer, concurrent with her roles as CAO and CRO.
Before Bridgestone Americas, Karbowiak was an Associate at the law firm of Quinn, Jacobs & Barry and served as an attorney with G.D. Searle and Company (later, The NutraSweet Company). She earned both a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois.
Karbowiak is active in community organizations and volunteer efforts and currently serves on a number of boards and advisory committees, including: the Jennings Jones College of Business, Middle Tennessee State University (advisory board); Tennessee State Museum Audit Committee; Japan America Society of Tennessee, Immediate Past Chair; Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Vital Signs Task Force Chair; Franklin American Mortgage Company Music City Bowl Past Chair; Tennessee Performing Arts Center, Executive Committee member; and Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, past Chair. She has been named Volunteer of the Year by the Nashville Chapter of the YMCA and the Nashville Sports Council, a Nashville Business Journal Woman of Influence, a YWCA Academy of Women of Achievement honoree, and has been named a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Illinois, College of Law. She was recognized as one of Nashville’s top “50 Sports Pioneers and Players” by Celebrate Sports in Nashville magazine and currently serves as the Local Organizing Committee Chair for the 2016 NHL All-Star Game. Karbowiak has been recognized with the Middle Tennessee Council, Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award and was named a 2015 “Woman to Watch in the Tire Industry” by the Tire Industry Association.
Michihiro “Mick” Suzuki is the Executive Vice President of Business Strategy and Enterprise Support and Vice President of Diversified Businesses with Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM). In this role Suzuki assists the CEO and COO across a wide range of strategic and operational enterprise initiatives. His responsibilities include direct oversight for Diversified Businesses such as Firestone Building Products and Firestone Industrial Products.
Suzuki joined Bridgestone Corporation in April 1983 as a member of the International Administration Department. In his 30+ years with the company, Suzuki has held numerous positions across the globe, including managerial positions in operations and treasury.
In 2007, Suzuki was transferred to Bridgestone Europe NV/SA, as Director of Sales Administration. After two years of service in Brussels, Suzuki transferred to Bridgestone Americas, Inc. as Director of Business Planning, where he served from 2009 to June of 2011. He later returned to Bridgestone Corporation in Tokyo as Director of International Tire Administration. Suzuki has held his current positions at Bridgestone Americas, Inc. in Nashville, Tenn. since 2013.
Suzuki earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan.
Bill Thompson serves as Chief Financial Officer for Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM). In his position, Thompson is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the finance, accounting and shared services functions of the organization, including:
Thompson has extensive experience working for (BSAM). He joined the company as Senior Financial Analyst of the Southeast Zone in 1996. Since then, he has held numerous financial positions for retail, manufacturing, sales and corporate groups. In 2011, Thompson served as West Zone Manager for US Commercial Tire Sales, where he later took on the role as Controller of BSAM in 2012. Most recently he served as Vice President of Finance for BSAM.
Thompson is a native of Huntington, N.Y. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics at State University of New York Stony Brook, and a master’s degree in finance from Georgia State University. He currently lives in Brentwood, Tenn., with his wife and three sons.
Steve Shelton serves as Senior Vice President, Technology, Manufacturing and Procurement for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO). In this role Shelton leads the teams responsible for design, development, raw material procurement and manufacturing of tire products for Bridgestone’s Americas operation. Shelton’s responsibilities also include oversight of the company’s fibers and textiles business, natural rubber farm in Liberia, West Africa, Bridgestone Americas Center for Research & Technology and the Guayule Rubber Projects, which include the Bridgestone Bio-rubber Process Research Center and Bridgestone Agro Operations. Shelton serves as a member of the Board of Directors for BATO, is an officer for both Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM) and BATO, and is a member of the Executive Committee of BSAM.
Previously, Shelton served as Vice President, Product Development, BATO, where he was responsible for all BATO tire development groups, as well as the Advanced Technology Workshop – the division responsible for race tire manufacturing, and the Akron-based Product Development facilities. Shelton also served as Vice President, Logistics Supply Chain Management for BSAM, and was responsible for strategic supply planning, global sourcing, operational procurement for both domestic and import finished goods, freight contracts and logistics for finished goods.
In 1993, Shelton joined then-Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. as a Senior Project Engineer, Uniformity. Quickly taking on roles of increasing responsibility, Shelton served as Uniformity Manager; Technical Services Manager; Technical Services/Quality Assurance Manager; Division Manager Tire Room & Uniformity; Division Manager Curing & Uniformity; Manager, Process Engineering Development (PED); Director, PED Tire Development and Uniformity; and Director, Product/Process Strategic Marketing Consumer Tire Replacement. In 2008, Shelton was promoted to Vice President, Supply Planning and Sourcing, and in May 2008, commercial truck tire Production Distribution Inventory Control (PDIC) was added to his existing assignment. Shelton was promoted to Vice President Logistics Supply Chain Management in 2009.
Shelton earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Lynchburg College, and an MBA from Duke University.
Gabriel Asbun serves as President of Bridgestone Latin America Tire Division (BATO). Asbun oversees all tire operations in Latin America, including strategy and policy for seven manufacturing and sales subsidiaries. Their locations span across Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico and Venezuela.
Before joining the company, Asbun worked for the Kellogg Company where he served for 12 years, most recently as President of the company’s Mexico Business Unit. Prior to his appointment as president in 2009, Asbun held a number of other key leadership positions with Kellogg, including General Manager.
Prior to his tenure at Kellogg, Asbun worked for the strategy-consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton. In his role, he assisted companies in developing business strategies and transformational initiatives throughout Latin America.
Asbun earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical-Electrical Engineering with a concentration in Industrial Engineering from the Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City where he graduated with Honors, and a master’s of Business Administration from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Asbun is tri-lingual in Spanish, English and Portuguese with a basic knowledge of French.