Executive Bios

GORDON KNAPP

  • Chief Executive Officer and President, Chief Operating Officer, Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
  • Member of the Board, Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
  • Vice Chair and Executive Officer, Bridgestone Corporation
GORDON KNAPP

Gordon Knapp assumed his role as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President of Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM) in September 2016, and was concurrently named COO in 2019. In addition, he serves as a member of the Board of Directors for BSAM and Vice Chair and Executive Officer of Bridgestone Corporation. In his current role, Knapp focuses on accelerating BSAM’s growth and helping to achieve the vision of becoming a truly global company. He is responsible for the tire business units, marketing, the chief administrative office, human resources, legal and product development, among other responsibilities.

Knapp previously served as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of BSAM until 2016 before returning to the role concurrently in 2019. As COO, he played a key role in helping to oversee human resource alignments, operations strategy and policies, and worked to foster employee alignment with corporate goals.

Under Knapp’s leadership, Bridgestone Americas, Inc. has strengthened its focus on delivering value to consumers through innovation and achieving operational excellence. Knapp brings a wide range of leadership experience, including a strong global mindset built by living and working internationally 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 North America Consumer Brands at Pfizer, Inc., where he gained experience in leading operations for iconic brands such as Kleenex, Viva, Listerine and Schick.

Outside of his work with Bridgestone, Knapp serves on the board of directors for the United Way of Metropolitan Nashville. Knapp received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Trent University, and his MBA from the University of Western Ontario. He lives in Brentwood, Tenn., with his wife and their two sons.

TJ HIGGINS

  • Group President, Americas Tire, Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
  • Member of the Board, Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
  • Vice President and Senior Officer, G-Chief Business Strategic Officer, Bridgestone Corporation
TJ HIGGINS

TJ Higgins was named Group President, Americas Tire for Bridgestone Americas, Inc., in 2019. In this new role, Higgins is responsible for leading all sales across the company’s consumer and commercial tire businesses.

Higgins joined Bridgestone Americas in 2014 as President of the Consumer Integrated Tire Group, where he was responsible for setting the growth strategy for the company’s consumer tire business in the U.S. and Canada and leading the teams that manage tire sales for the original equipment and replacement segments. He also oversaw Bridgestone Retail Operations, the world’s largest network of company-owned tire and automotive service centers, and the Bridgestone consumer credit lending business, Credit First National Association (CFNA).

TJ previously served as Chairman of the Board for Bridgestone Europe, Middle East & Africa from 2017-2019. In 2019, he was named G-Chief Business Strategic Officer, a newly created global role for the Global Head Office (GHO) of Bridgestone Corporation.

Before joining Bridgestone, Higgins served as the North America Regional President for Pfizer Consumer Healthcare where he was responsible for leading the operations of recognizable brands and products such as Advil, Centrum, ChapStick, Robitussin and Emergen-C. He also previously held leadership positions at Merck and Vlasic Foods.

Higgins graduated summa cum laude from Lehigh University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He earned his MBA at Harvard University.

SCOTT DAMON

  • Group President, Operations, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations
  • Member of the Board, Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
  • Vice President and Officer, Bridgestone Corporation
SCOTT DAMON

Scott Damon was named Group President, Operations for Bridgestone Americas, Inc., in 2019. In this role, he is responsible for the strategic focus and integration of the company’s end-to-end supply chain. In addition, Scott serves as Vice President and Officer of Bridgestone Corporation.

Damon previously served as President, Commercial Group, U.S. and Canada, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO) from October 2017-2019, where he oversaw all business operations within the commercial tire portfolio, which encompasses Truck & Bus (TBR) tires, the company’s Bandag retread business, Firestone Agricultural tires, Off-the-Road (OTR) tires and the commercial retail operations of GCR Tires & Service.

Scott joined Bridgestone Americas in 1996 as Development Engineer for Bandag Incorporated (Bandag) in Muscatine, Iowa. Bridgestone Americas acquired Bandag in 2007, integrating it into the Bridgestone Commercial business. In his time with Bridgestone, he has served in various leadership roles providing strategic direction to the businesses, including President, Firestone Industrial Products, President of Speedco Inc., Executive Director of Strategic Planning, Bridgestone Americas Technical Center and Vice President of Marketing, commercial truck tire and retreading segments.

Scott graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He earned an MBA from Frostburg State University and completed certificate studies in Executive Leadership and Management at the University of Notre Dame.

CHRISTINE KARBOWIAK

  • Vice Chair, Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Risk Officer and Executive Vice President, Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
  • Executive Vice President and Executive Officer, Bridgestone Corporation
  • G-Chief Sustainability Officer, Bridgestone Corporation
CHRISTINE KARBOWIAK

With more than 25 years of service with Bridgestone Americas, Inc., Christine Karbowiak is an Executive Vice President and serves as the company’s Vice Chair, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and Chief Risk Officer (CRO). In addition, she is an Executive Vice President and Executive Officer of Bridgestone Corporation, and a Member of the Board of Bridgestone China Asia Pacific and Bridgestone Brands, LLC.

Karbowiak is responsible for the oversight all of the risk and reputation management departments for Bridgestone Americas, 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 and is Chair of the Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund. Karbowiak is also a key member of the global executive team charged with executing global Bridgestone’s activation of its TOP partnership with the International Olympic Committee. In 2019, she was named G-Chief Sustainability Officer (G-CSTO) for Bridgestone Corporation, a role that reports through the company’s Global Head Office (GHO).

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. Less than two years later, she became the Bridgestone/Firestone divisional Vice President of Public Affairs and later Vice President of Public Affairs for Bridgestone Americas in 2001. 

In 2005, Karbowiak expanded her responsibilities when she was named 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 named 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. 

Karbowiak added to her current responsibilities in 2014 as a Member of the Board of Bridgestone China Asia Pacific, where she also currently serves as Chair of the Governance and Risk Committee, and was elected Vice President and Senior Officer of Bridgestone Corporation; she also serves as a member of Bridgestone Corporation’s Global Executive Committee. In 2018, Karbowiak was elected Vice Chair of the Bridgestone Americas, Inc., Board, and in 2019 was promoted to Executive Vice President, Executive Officer and G-CSTO for Bridgestone Corporation.

Prior to joining 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 committees, including: Middle Tennessee State University, Board of Trustees; Tennessee State Museum Audit Committee; Japan America Society of Tennessee, Past Chair; Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Board Member and Vital Signs Task Force Past Chair; Franklin American Mortgage Company Music City Bowl; Executive Committee member and Technology Committee Chair; and Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Past Chair.

Karbowiak has been named Volunteer of the Year by the Nashville Chapter of the YMCA and the Nashville Sports Council, a Woman of Influence and Power 100 list representative by the Nashville Business Journal, a YWCA Academy of Women of Achievement honoree, a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Illinois, College of Law, a “Woman to Watch in the Tire Industry” by the Tire Industry Association, and was named one of the 2017 Influential Women in Business by Nashville Lifestyles. She was recognized as one of Nashville’s top “50 Sports Pioneers and Players” by Celebrate Sports in Nashville magazine and served 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 awarded the 2018 Apollo Award for Communications Leadership from the Public Relations Society of America.

STEVE CHARLES

  • Vice President, Firestone Polymers, Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
STEVE CHARLES

With more than 35 years of service to Bridgestone Americas, Inc., Steve Charles has served in his current position as Vice President, Firestone Polymers (FSPC) since 2017. In this role, Steve oversees FSPC which operates a manufacturing facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana and Polymer Engineering Pilot Center in Akron, Ohio.

Steve joined Firestone Tire & Rubber Company in 1981 as a Junior Engineer in the Commercial Development Department. He continued his support of product engineering in increasing roles of responsibility in multiple departments including both consumer and commercial tires, original equipment passenger and light truck, and agriculture, off-the-road, and truck and bus tires. He served as the Director, Commercial Tire Development. Steve had served as Vice President, Product Development since 2013 before assuming his current role.

Steve holds a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. Steve has served as Board President for Junior Achievement and is currently on the board of directors for the United Way of Summit County, Greater Akron Chamber, the University of Akron’s Engineering Advancement Council, Akron’s Innovation Hub – Bounce and the Golf Championship Council.

PHILIP DOBBS

  • Chief Marketing Officer, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations
  • Vice President and Officer, Bridgestone Corporation
PHILIP DOBBS

Philip Dobbs is Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations. As CMO, Dobbs leads the integrated marketing strategy for the company’s consumer and commercial tire businesses in the Americas, and for Bridgestone Retail Operations. In addition, Dobbs is a member of the Board of Bridgestone Americas and the Board of Bridgestone Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Since joining the company in 2011, Dobbs has been instrumental in leading the company’s efforts to be more consumer-centric and strengthen the Bridgestone and Firestone tire brands. He has elevated the company’s brand-building initiatives by delivering fully-integrated, award-winning campaigns that leverage consumer and customer insights, advertising, digital marketing, sponsorships, retail marketing and more. Dobbs also has been involved in shaping Bridgestone’s Worldwide Olympic Partnership activation efforts both in the U.S. and on a global basis.

Prior to joining Bridgestone, Dobbs was CMO at TruGreen, a national leader in commercial and residential lawn and land care and part of the ServiceMaster Company. He has also held Senior Marketing and Management positions at KRAFT Foods, Pfizer and Fruit-of-the-Loom.

Dobbs completed his undergraduate work at the United States Naval Academy and served as an active duty line officer for six years. He earned his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Dobbs serves on the board of directors for the Nashville Predators Foundation and resides in Nashville with his two children and wife, Michelle.

AMANDA MATHIS

  • Chief Financial Officer, Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
AMANDA MATHIS

Amanda Mathis was named Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM) in May 2017. In this role, Mathis is responsible for overseeing all strategic aspects of finance, accounting and financial shared services for BSAM’s international operations, including management of the more than 900 teammates within these departments. Additionally, she is responsible for BSAM’s mergers and acquisitions, financial reporting, cash flow and debt management.

Amanda joined BSAM as Controller for the Consumer Tire Division in 2012. She was later promoted to Vice President, Finance for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO) North America and concurrently named Acting CFO in September 2016.

Prior to joining BATO, Mathis spent nine years at Yum! Brands, Inc., the world's largest system restaurant company. In her last role at Yum!, Mathis served as CFO of Long John Silver’s and A&W Restaurants. Prior to that, Mathis held finance positions of increasing responsibility at Yum!, having started her career in investment banking at the Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets and Morgan Keegan.

Mathis received a 2016 Women of Influence Award from the Nashville Business Journal and serves on the board of directors at the Nashville Symphony and Tennessee Breast Cancer Coalition. She graduated from Emory University with a BBA, double majoring in Business and Economics, with concentrations in Finance and Marketing.

CHRIS NICASTRO

  • Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer, Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
  • Chairman of the Board, Bridgestone Europe, Middle East and Africa
  • Vice President and Senior Officer, Bridgestone Corporation
CHRIS NICASTRO

Chris Nicastro is Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer for Bridgestone Americas, Inc., positions he has held since March 2010. In these roles, Nicastro oversees Bridgestone Americas’ Law Department and ethics and compliance program and is responsible for the legal affairs of the company.

Additionally, Nicastro serves as Vice President, Senior Officer and Group Global General Counsel of Bridgestone Corporation, and was named Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bridgestone Europe, Middle East and Africa (BSEMEA) in 2019. He is also a member of the BSEMEA Board’s Audit Committee, Chair of the BSEMEA Board’s Governance and Risk Committee, Chair of the Bridgestone Americas Board’s Governance and Risk Committee and a member of the Bridgestone Americas Board’s Audit Committee.

From February 2008 to March 2010, Nicastro served as General Counsel for Latin America and Corporate Compliance for Bridgestone Americas. Prior to joining the company in February 2008, Nicastro served for seven years as Assistant General Counsel for Yazaki North America, Inc. in Canton, Michigan. He had earlier worked as an in-house corporate attorney at Marconi Data Systems, Inc., in Wood Dale, Illinois, from 1996 to 2000.

After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School in 1992, Nicastro served as a law clerk to the Hon. Ann C. Williams of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (now of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit). Nicastro is married with three sons and lives in Brentwood, Tenn. 

Craig Schneider

  • President, Diversified Products
Craig Schneider

Craig Schneider is President, Diversified Products for Bridgestone Americas. He was promoted to this role in April 2018. After joining Bridgestone as President of Firestone Industrial Products Company, LLC (FSIP) in 2017.

Prior to joining Bridgestone, Schneider served as the Senior Vice President of Retail Sales for Shell Oil Products, where he was responsible for leading operations of such recognizable brands and products as Pennzoil, Quaker State, and Shell Rotella.  He also held senior leadership roles across several divisions of Shell Oil Products, including Vice President of the Pennzoil Quaker State Company and Vice President of Marketing for 15,000 retail sites in the U.S. and Canada.

Schneider graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering. He earned his MBA from the Jones School of Business at Rice University where he was awarded the Jones Scholar.

JAN STEINMETZ

  • Chief Human Resources Officer, Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
JAN STEINMETZ

Jan Steinmetz serves as Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) for Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM). In this role, Steinmetz is responsible for overseeing all HR priorities and initiatives covering Bridgestone America’s approximately 55,000 teammates throughout the U.S., Canada, Central and South America.

Steinmetz joined Bridgestone Americas in 2015 after a 32-year career with Royal Dutch Shell plc, where he most recently served as Vice President of Heavy Oil, Upstream Americas. Throughout his career at Shell, Steinmetz worked across a number of major business segments, including exploration and production (onshore and offshore), mining, refining and manufacturing, retail, lubricants and supply and distribution. He also served in a number of additional senior leadership roles, including Vice President, Human Resources, Downstream Commercial Portfolio and Supply and Distribution-North America; Vice President, Human Resources, Shell Lubricants-Americas; and Director of Human Resources, Shell Retail U.S. During his tenure at Shell, he led several major transformational projects, including the organizational design of Shell’s global HR function.

Steinmetz earned his bachelor’s degree and Master of Business Administration from the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

BILL THOMPSON

  • Executive Vice President, Business Transformation, Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
  • Vice President and Senior Officer, Bridgestone Corporation
BILL THOMPSON

Bill Thompson is Executive Vice President of Business Transformation for Bridgestone Americas. In this role, Thompson has responsibility for the company’s portfolio of strategic transformation programs.

Thompson served as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM) from 2016-2019, a position he held concurrently with his roles as a member of the board for BSAM and as Vice President and Senior Officer of Bridgestone Corporation.

Prior to his COO role, Thompson served as Chief Financial Officer for BSAM, overseeing all aspects of the finance, accounting and shared services functions of the organization. In this role, he led the creation of a defined benefit pension strategy and aggressively supported development of formal office to analyze potential merger and acquisition targets. Thompson has contributed to the company's profitability in several ways, with one of the most notable examples being the launch of BSAM’s multi-function Shared Business Services organization.

Since joining the company as Senior Financial Analyst of the Southeast Zone of the United States in 1996, he has held numerous financial positions for retail, manufacturing, sales and corporate groups. Thompson was the finance lead during Bridgestone’s acquisition of Bandag in 2007, and in 2011, served as West Zone Manager for U.S. Commercial Tire Sales. He later took on the role as Controller of BSAM in 2012 before being named Vice President of Finance for BSAM in 2013.

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. 

NIZAR TRIGUI

  • Chief Technology Officer, Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
  • Vice President and Officer, Bridgestone Corporation
NIZAR TRIGUI

Nizar Trigui was named the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM) in March 2017 and Vice President and Officer of Bridgestone Corporation in January 2018. As CTO, Trigui leads research and development efforts and is building a business-first approach to innovation. He works to accelerate the commercialization of technology products, services and solutions to bring new ideas to market and fuel business growth. Trigui also serves as a member of the Bridgestone Group Global Research and Development Committee.

Most recently, Trigui served as CTO and Executive Vice President of DURA Automotive, where he led corporate product strategy, technology portfolio and global product development. He also served concurrently as Chairman of the Board for the Asia-Pacific region and General Manager of the company’s Electronics Division Joint Venture. Prior to joining DURA, Trigui held a series of executive positions with Ford Motor Company in the U.S. and Jaguar Land Rover in England, including Global Chief Engineer of Sustainable Mobility. In that role, he led the development and execution of a coherent product strategy and technology roadmap to transform the brand perception and customer satisfaction with product efficiency.

Trigui earned his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from The Ohio State University. He also received executive training at the Yale University School of Management and is a two-time winner of the prestigious Henry Ford Technology Award. He is married and has two children.

JOE VENEZIA

  • President, Bridgestone Retail Operations
JOE VENEZIA

Joe Venezia has leadership oversight of operations for Bridgestone's 2,200 company-owned tire and automotive service centers, in addition to the BSRO field organization and Store Support Center teams, all of which employ more than 23,000 teammates. Joe joined Bridgestone in June 2017.

Joe brings more than 20 years of consumer goods and retail experience to Bridgestone. He joined BSRO from Toys"R"Us, Inc., where he served as Executive Vice President (EVP) of Global Store Operations and held a seat on the company's Global Leadership Team. In his EVP role, Joe was responsible for delivering an exceptional shopping experience across a retail network of more than 850 Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us stores in the United States.

He also provided strategic direction and support for store operations worldwide, including sharing operational best practices. Earlier in his career, Joe held key operations and management positions at The Pantry, a leading independently operated convenience store chain in the southeastern U.S., Walmart, Wells Fargo Merchant Services and Procter & Gamble.

Joe earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point and served as an Airborne Ranger Officer in the U.S. Army Infantry for nine years.