Gordon Knapp assumed his role as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President of Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM) in September 2016. In addition, he serves as a member of the Board of Directors for BSAM and Senior Vice President and Executive Officer of Bridgestone Corporation. As CEO, Knapp will focus on accelerating BSAM’s growth and helping to achieve the vision of becoming a truly global company, and will be responsible for the tire business units, marketing, the chief administrative office, human resources, legal, quality, and product development at the Americas Technical Center.
Most recently, Knapp served as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of BSAM. 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 invaluable 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.
Bill Thompson was named Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM) in September 2016, a position he will hold concurrently with his roles as a member of the board for BSAM and Vice President and Senior Officer of Bridgestone Corporation. As COO, Thompson will focus on operational excellence, systems improvements, and cost leadership and will be responsible for diversified products businesses, manufacturing and LSCM, finance, IT and enterprise project management.
Most recently, 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 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 US 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.
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 and reputation management 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 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 (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 serves as a member of that company’s Global Executive Committee. Then in 2015 through 2016, Karbowiak 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 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, Vital Signs Task Force Past Chair; Franklin American Mortgage Company Music City Bowl, Executive Committee member and Past Chair; Tennessee Performing Arts Center, Executive Committee member and Technology Committee Chair; 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 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 named a 2015 “Woman to Watch in the Tire Industry” by the Tire Industry Association.
With more than 35 years of service to Bridgestone Americas, Inc., Steve Charles has served in his current position as Vice President, Product Development since September 2013. In this role, Charles now leads an effort to better integrate and set strategic direction globally for Bridgestone Americas Center for Research and Technology, Firestone Polymers and Project Fortitude. Charles serves as the lead representative from Bridgestone Americas and works with a Bridgestone Japan team.
Charles 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. Most recently, he served as the Director, Commercial Tire Development.
Charles holds a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. Charles 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, and the Golf Championship Council.
Scott Damon assumed his role as President, Commercial Group, U.S. and Canada, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO) in October 2017. As President, Scott oversees 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. He serves as a Strategic Board Observer for ClearMotion.
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 resides in Nashville with his two children and wife, Michelle.
TJ Higgins joined Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations in October 2014 as President, Consumer Integrated Tire Division, U.S. and Canada. Concurrently, Higgins serves as Chairman of the Board, Bridgestone Europe, Middle East & Africa (BSEMEA) and Vice President and Senior Officer, Bridgestone Corporation. Higgins leads a team which includes Bridgestone Retail Operations, original equipment sales and consumer tire replacement sales, as well as the company’s Credit First National Association (CFNA).
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.
David “Dave” Johnson serves as Chief Quality Officer of Bridgestone Americas. In this role, Johnson is responsible for aligning quality governance with business objectives and to ensure that quality management systems deliver the full life cycle quality of the company’s products for the Americas. He leads the Quality Assurance, Sales Engineering and Regulatory Compliance organizations, which encompass design, supplier, manufacturing and market quality functions as well as Enterprise Quality Education and Continual Improvement groups.
Johnson began his career at Bridgestone in 1989 as an engineer in Product Development based in Akron, Ohio. He has held numerous leadership roles of increasing responsibility during his more than 27 years with the company, including Section Manager of Tire Testing and Engineering and Manager of Original Equipment (OE) Tire Development, among various other roles in Product Development. In 2011, he was named Director of Technical Planning and was then promoted to Executive Director of Sales Engineering in 2012. Most recently, Johnson served as Operations Manager at the Bridgestone Truck Tire plant in Lavergne, Tennessee.
Johnson holds a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University.
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.
Stefano Mezzabotta serves as Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Bridgestone Americas, Inc. In his role, Mezzabotta is responsible for leading and overseeing the vision, strategy and operations of the Bridgestone Americas Information Technology department throughout North and South America.
Mezzabotta joined Bridgestone Americas in 2017 with nearly 30 years of experience as a global technology executive. He most recently served as Director, Global Business Units – Global Shared Services and Information Technology at Procter & Gamble, where he led IT and Shared Services for four Global Business Sectors across 17 different product categories. Before moving to the U.S. in 2007, Stefano had been the CIO for Procter & Gamble Western Europe and was based in Geneva, Switzerland. His career at Procter & Gamble encompassed seven international assignments in Europe and the United States, and responsibilities for Asia and Latin America.
Mezzabotta was a Navy Officer at the Italian Naval Academy in Livorno, Italy, and earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Ancona, Italy. He is married and has two children.
Brad Moreschi is Vice President, Strategic Cost Leadership and Operational Excellence for Bridgestone Americas. In this role, Brad partners with senior leaders to continue to build the company’s Strategic Cost Leadership pipeline, reduce complexity in operations, realize year over year improvement in cost structure and adopt a cultural cost-conscious culture of doing business. Additionally, Brad is responsible for continuing to advance the company’s Operational Excellence initiatives to sustain and accelerate business performance, with particular focus on continued Cash Conversion Cycle (CCC) improvements, enterprise-wide value chain processes and Integrated Business Planning process (IBP).
Moreschi joined the company in 2013 as the finance leader for the Consumer Integrated Tire Group. During his two years in this role, he was instrumental in the business unit’s strong financial performance and made important contributions to strategy development as well as building organizational and finance capabilities.
Prior to joining Bridgestone Americas, Moreschi held finance and leadership roles throughout his 27 years in the consumer products industry. During his nine years with Procter & Gamble, Moreschi led the integration and financial operations of the North American, Blade & Razor business. Prior to an international assignment as Finance Director, Global Market Development Operations for Prestige Fragrances in Geneva, Switzerland, he held numerous financial and accounting roles, supporting manufacturing, commercial and value chain operations with the Gillette Company.
Moreschi holds a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Northeastern University and resides in Nashville with his wife and three children.
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.
In addition, Nicastro serves as Vice President and Officer of Bridgestone Corporation, a member of the Board of Directors of Bridgestone Europe, Middle East and Africa (BSEMEA), Chair 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.
Asahiko (Duke) Nishiyama was named Vice Chair of Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM) and Vice President and Officer of Bridgestone Corporation in March 2019. As Vice Chair, Nishiyama serves as the Bridgestone Americas voice to the Bridgestone Corporation leadership team in Japan, and as Vice President, he will remain a key member of Bridgestone Japan senior management.
Nishiyama joined Bridgestone Corporation in Japan in April 1977 as a member of International Operations Department. During his more than 40 years with the company, Nishiyama has held numerous leadership roles of increasing responsibility across the globe. Most recently, Nishiyama served as Vice President and Officer responsible for Olympics, Paralympics, Sports, Cycle & Active Healthy Lifestyle. He also served as Executive Chairman of Bridgestone Americas, Inc. from 2014 to 2015.
Nishiyama earned his bachelor’s degree in commercial science from Keio University, Tokyo, Japan.
Barry Owens was named Vice President of Bridgestone Americas Manufacturing Group (BAMG) in 2011. In this role, Owens is responsible for leading BAMG in the company’s manufacturing plants as well as Bandag manufacturing locations. He is additionally responsible for the Process Engineering Development (PED) and Process Systems Development (PSD) functions.
Prior to this role, Owens served as Executive Director for PED after several other roles of increasing responsibility since joining Bridgestone in 1989.
Owens holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University and serves on the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Automotive Manufacturers Association.
Joseph Saoud is president of Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations Latin America (BATO LA), a position he has held since July 2018. Joseph is responsible for the Bridgestone tire business in Latin America with full Profit and Loss (P&L) accountability.
Saoud joined the company in 2016 as President, Truck and Bus Radial & Retread (TBR&R), Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations. In this role, he had P&L responsibility for the U.S. and Canadian commercial truck and bus tire business.
Saoud brings more than 20 years of leadership experience to the company. He spent 20 years working at Cummins, Inc., serving in roles of increasing responsibility. During his las seven years at Cummins, Joseph was a Cummins Officer and President of the Cummins Filtration business unit, a global leader in the design, manufacture, and distribution of diesel and natural gas engine filtration and related technologies. Joseph also served as an Officer and President of Global Construction, Agriculture and Military for Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. (CVG) for one year prior to joining Bridgestone.
Joseph earned a bachelor’s degree in banking and finance from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Master of Business Administration from Vanderbilt University.
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.
Luis Solana joined Bridgestone Americas in February 2016 as Vice President, Logistics and Supply Chain Management. Solana is responsible for leading Bridgestone Americas complex regional supply chain to support and enable business growth by better connecting supply and demand, driving operational excellence with a lean approach to cost and time, and implementing world-class logistics and supply chain management strategies.
Before joining Bridgestone, Solana worked for Coty, a multi-billion dollar global beauty company, for eight years, where he most recently served as Vice President, Global Supply Chain. There he was responsible for leading the Americas integration and transformation of the organization’s financial, manufacturing, planning, and sales and distribution systems. Solana previously held several leadership positions at Colgate-Palmolive and DHL Supply Chain (formerly Exel Logistics).
Solana earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical-Electrical Engineering with a concentration in Industrial Engineering from the Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City, and a Master’s of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is tri-lingual in Spanish, English and Portuguese.
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.
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.
Rebecca Vest is Senior Vice President of Procurement and Strategic Sourcing Partnerships for Bridgestone Americas, Inc.. In this role, Vest is responsible for leading the Bridgestone Americas Procurement organization, Firestone Natural Rubber (FSNR), including Firestone Liberia (FSLB) and the company’s outsourced tire strategy.
Prior to joining Bridgestone in 2018, Vest served as Vice President, Corporate Development and Social Responsibility for Nissan North America, Inc., where she oversaw corporate social responsibility and philanthropy, OEM partnerships and internal audit functions. She also served as Vice President of Purchasing for Nissan, including all oversight of purchasing activities for parts, materials, vendor tooling, logistics, services, machinery and equipment, media, aftersales and accessories for Nissan's operations throughout the North American region. She also served as the North American regional purchasing head for the Renault-Nissan Purchasing Organization (RNPO).
Prior to Nissan, Vest worked for more than 22 years at Toyota, where she held positions of increasing responsibility in purchasing including Parts, Materials, Facilities, Strategy and Parts Commodity Engineering. Vest earned her bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Kentucky.