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Goodyear CEO Outlines Strategy, Challenges

In his address at the company’s 2009 Annual Shareholder Meeting, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. chairman Robert Keegan said he “remains confident in Goodyear’s ability to drive performance during challenging economic conditions and emerge in a position of competitive strength.”

Keegan identified three specific areas that the company will emphasize going forward:

Top line – encompassing new product leadership, building core brand strength and leveraging Goodyear’s industry-leading distribution network;

Lowering costs – aggressively aligning Goodyear’s cost structure with today’s lower industry volumes; and

Managing for cash – focusing on the strength of Goodyear’s balance sheet and generating funds to reinvest in the business.

Rubber and Plastics News reports (subscription required) that Keegan also outlined a restructuring program at the meeting that would reduce Goodyear’s workforce by an additional 5,000 employees, bringing its total layoffs to 9,000 workers since mid-2008. The cost reduction program also includes instituting a global freeze on salaries; lowering its manufacturing costs through shortened work weeks, fewer manufacturing personnel and reduced third-party sourcing; increasing its lean manufacturing and Six Sigma processes; eliminating non-essential spending; and continuing to close underperforming retail stores.

The press release is here.

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