Pioneered the development of the all-season radial tire and accelerated Goodyear’s successful conversion to radial tires
Elected Chairman and CEO of Goodyear in 1974 after advancing through the company for 33 years
Established industry record by increasing Goodyear’s annual worldwide sales to $9 million
Determination helped Charles Pilliod bounce back from disappointment to reach the top. As a boy growing up in the shadow of Akron’s rubber factories, Pilliod dreamed of becoming a lawyer. When the Great Depression made a college education seem impossible, Pilliod tried working his way through college, but dropped out in 1941 to join Goodyear’s production management trainee program. Pilliod stood out from the crowd by working double shifts and enrolling in every management course offered.
His first promotion came within a year, when he was chosen to supervise production of fuel tanks for military aircraft. He later enlisted in the Army Air Corps to train as a bomber pilot. Pilliod’s rapid rise through Goodyear’s ranks continued until 1966, when he was serving as the company’s Managing Director in Britain. He was offered a promotion that would have returned him to Akron. Unwilling to give up a job where “I’m pressing the buttons,” he refused at first, but eventually accepted the job. Just eight years later, Pilliod was pressing all the buttons as President and CEO. Pilliod credited his success to one characteristic: “I have a drive to excel…to do better than the other guy.”