Christopher Ball has been named senior vice president of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and president of North America Tire Operations (NATO), effective March 19. He will report to Brad Hughes, president and CEO. Ball assumes this role following the promotion of Phil Kortokrax to the position of senior vice president, global operations and procurement.
North America is Cooper’s largest market. In his new role, Ball will be responsible for formulating and driving execution of strategic plans to grow Cooper’s business within the dealer-distributor network as well as in new sales channels. He will closely partner with the company’s operations and technical teams in the U.S., which focus on the design and manufacture of quality tires in safe and sustainable facilities, including four manufacturing plants, as well as supply chain operations.
Ball joins Cooper following a 15-year career with Whirlpool Corp., a global appliance leader with annual revenue of $20.7 billion and iconic brands such as Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid and Jenn-Air. Most recently, he served as global vice president for the company’s KitchenAid small appliance business. Prior to that, Ball held leadership positions within Whirlpool’s Laundry business, beginning as senior director of the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Laundry team, a role for which he was based in Comerio, Italy. He was later promoted to general manager of the North America Laundry unit, Whirlpool’s largest business. His career at Whirlpool also included sales and marketing leadership positions of increasing responsibility within multiple business segments. Before joining Whirlpool, Ball was with General Mills Inc. for two years, serving in sales leadership roles.
“We are pleased to welcome Chris to our executive leadership team,” said Hughes. “He is a talented global executive with significant commercial experience, and the energy and demonstrated leadership capabilities to help us achieve our strategic growth objectives.”
Ball holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and a Master of Business Administration from the executive master’s program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He serves on the Dean’s Council of the Kelley School of Business.
As senior vice president, global operations and procurement, Kortokrax, who has been with Cooper for nearly three decades, is responsible for overseeing the company’s global manufacturing operations, which includes eight tire manufacturing plants on three continents, as well as global procurement. He also is responsible for Cooper’s emerging global OE and worldwide truck and bus radial (TBR) tire businesses.
“During his long tenure with Cooper, Phil has served in many different functional areas within the company and brings deep expertise to his new role. With this promotion, he returns to lead manufacturing, but this time on a global scale in recognition of the importance of our worldwide production footprint. We look forward to his contributions as we work to continuously improve product quality, maintain our focus on safety, and continue to enhance efficiencies at our plants around the world,” said Hughes.
Kortokrax joined Cooper in 1990 as a member of the Information Technology team, moved into plant operations in 1994, and by 2003, progressed to the position of director – internal audit. He went on to serve as general manager of the Mickey Thompson business, and in 2008, moved to NATO as vice president – dealer channel sales. Three years later, he was made vice president – strategic marketing and planning, and in 2012, he was appointed vice president, manufacturing and supply chain – North America tire operations, a post he held until being named to the NATO leadership role in 2015.
Kortokrax holds a bachelor’s degree in business systems analysis from the University of Findlay (Ohio), and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Toledo (Ohio).