Continental has appointed Steve Howat as General Manager of its established Technical Services division, UK and Ireland. Howat replaces respected industry expert Roger Sanders, who is retiring this year after nearly 30 years’ service with the company.
Howat joins from Bridgestone, where he held the position of European Training Manager, delivering extensive technical, business and sales training to the company’s customers and staff across Europe. Howat will focus on the future development of Continental’s technical service support, as the company evolves its offering to meet new industry challenges.
“I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Steve, who joins us with a wealth of technical experience, while at the same time thanking Roger for his tremendous hard work over the years,” says Arthur Gregg, Sales and Marketing Director, Commercial, Continental. “Roger is highly respected throughout the tyre industry for his expert technical knowledge, absolute focus on customer service and congenial nature. He has played a significant role in building our industry-leading technical services department, and we wish him all the very best for his retirement.”
Steve Howat began his career in the tyre industry with Uniroyal tyres in 1987. He was soon promoted to Field Service Manager for the North and Midlands region, with close involvement in monitoring truck tyre performance. He became Technical Services Manager for Continental in 1995, gaining further experience across multiple areas including technical liaison, legislation, the Conti Breakdown Service, product performance and warranty. Howat then joined Bridgestone in 2004, where he developed and launched a purpose-built education centre at the company’s proving ground in Italy. In addition to delivering technical, business and sales training, he was also responsible for ensuring the compliance of its European sales companies with ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems.
“I’m thrilled to be rejoining Continental and helping to maintain its well deserved reputation for high quality technical services and training,” comments Howat. “I plan to ensure that the company remains the industry’s first port of call for professional technical support. Continental is a highly innovative company and I’m looking forward to drawing on the experience I’ve gained to reinforce the strength and quality of the services it provides.”
Roger Sanders entered the tyre industry in 1965 to become one of Dunlop’s first ever apprentices. He subsequently joined its motorsport division, where he progressed to become Dunlop’s youngest ever manager and technical expert, specialising in motorcycle tyres. He was approached by Continental in 1983 to set up the company’s Technical Services department. Promoted to OE Sales Director five years later, he increased annual turnover by 35% in just two and half years. He has been the General Manager of Continental’s Technical Services division for 20 years, during which time he has also played a major role within the BTMA and other trade and industry associations, including TyreSafe. In particular, he has helped to raise awareness of the importance of tread depth and winter tyres. “My original objectives upon joining Continental in 1983 were to build a professional Technical Services department that the industry could be proud of,” comments Sanders. “Feedback from customers suggests that Continental has indeed become a leading, respected authority on tyre technical matters. This was of course not a solo effort and I would like to thank my superb team for their commitment and hard work. I look forward to starting a new chapter of my life that will include plenty of time for writing my book and a proportion of consultancy work, which will keep me in touch with the industry.”
Steve Howat joined Continental on June 1 while Roger Sanders will work his last day for the company on July 31.
For more information www.continental-tyres.co.uk