Two top players in Bridgestone South Africa have settled into their new jobs in the company. Heading the list is Mike Halforty, South Africa's first-ever homegrown CEO of the local subsidiary of the Japanese company which emerged from small beginnings more than 80 years ago to become the world's largest tyre manufacturer.
Traditionally Bridgestone South Africa has been headed by an executive seconded from Japan but Mike's appointment represents a departure from convention and shows the parent company's confidence in the quality of local management.
Halforty, 59, was born in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape, and grew up in Newcastle KZN. He joined the Tyre industry in 1984 in the Manufacturing Division of a local Bridgestone competitor. Mike moved to Bridgestone in 1997 as Production Manager of the company's Port Elizabeth plant.
A succession of internal promotions saw him appointed as the Plant Director at Port Elizabeth, before taking over the same role at Bridgestone's Brits plant in 2011. He was appointed as Chief Operating Officer in 2012 and became CEO in 2014.
Halforty's shoes as COO are now being filled by Kazutoshi (Ken) Oyama, whose hometown is Tokyo Japan, but who has spent his career in numerous Japanese and international postings for Bridgestone.