Profile

Gary Garfield

Former CEO, Bridgestone Americas, Inc.

Gary Garfield engages and educates audiences with the truly unique insight he gained first practicing law, and then turning around the financial performance and corporate culture of Bridgestone Americas. Through his innovative approach to changing the culture of the organization, Garfield changed the focus of the organization, drove innovation and collaboration, and broke down silos. The result: the company pulled out of its marketplace rut. Under Gary’s leadership, the company had record profits each year, growing profits by more than fivefold during his tenure, and outperforming the S&P 500 over that period.

Through his sharing of personal stories and leadership lessons, Garfield has established himself as an expert in creating change and improving corporate culture. He not only shares his decades of insight but does it in a way that both captivates and motivates the audience, while ensuring that his messages and insight hammer home the key points senior management wants from a keynote speaker.

In 2010, Garfield was promoted from being the General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer to the CEO of Bridgestone Americas, a global company with over 55,000 employees operating on five continents. The old-line manufacturing company he was appointed to lead had been significantly underperforming for many years. During his six-year tenure, revenues grew by more than 30% to over $15 billion and profits increased fivefold, outperforming the S&P 500 over that time period. Cash flow went from negative to positive while overall company debt dramatically declined.

Garfield led the transformation of Bridgestone Americas from a manufacturing entity into a market leader. At the same time, the company operated as a true partner in the community with his strong stance on both corporate and environmental responsibility. Garfield achieved these extraordinary results through a unique but straightforward approach to driving change—an approach that is applicable to just about every organization.

As a business keynote speaker, Garfield shares his valuable insights and lessons learned to both educate and motivate the audience to achieve bigger and better things. He is authentic, honest, and straightforward, leaving audiences inspired and motivated. By the end of Gary’s talk, the audience will know what will work for them as they seek to take both their individual and group’s performance to the next level. As a consultant, Gary works closely with management to help it navigate the pitfalls and hurdles involved in cultural changes.

Prior to his achievements as the CEO, Gary served as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for Bridgestone. During that time, he helped the company survive the massive Ford Explorer/Firestone tire recall that started in August 2000. Through this experience, Gary also developed an extraordinary experience in crisis management.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Gary has been a guest speaker in classes at the Yale Management School, Wharton, Vanderbilt University, and Belmont University. Gary is a writer and op-ed contributor, a leader in pushing Nashville and Middle Tennessee to adopt a comprehensive mass transit system, on the board of Meharry Medical College, and a member of the audit committee for the newly formed Center for Interoperability in Nashville.

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