Executive Leadership

Brad Hughes

Brad Hughes

President & Chief Executive Officer
Brad Hughes

Brad Hughes was appointed President & Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Cooper Tire & Rubber Company on September 1, 2016. He joined the company in November 2009 as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). In July 2014, he was named Senior Vice President and President—International Operations. In January 2015, Hughes was named Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and continued to serve in this role until being named to his current position.

Prior to joining Cooper, Hughes had a 23-year career with Ford Motor Co.

A Detroit native, Hughes earned a bachelor's degree in business from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and earned a master's degree in business administration (MBA) from the University of Michigan Business School, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Chris Ball

Chris Ball

Senior Vice President & President—Americas
Chris Ball

Chris Ball joined Cooper in 2018 as Senior Vice President & President – North America. His responsibilities were expanded in March 2020 to include Latin America as Ball was named President—Americas. He also oversees the company’s Mickey Thompson wholly-owned subsidiary, a developer and distributor of specialty and off-road tires, as its Chairman.

Ball joined Cooper following a 15-year career with Whirlpool Corporation, a global appliance leader with 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.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the executive master’s program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Ball serves on the Dean’s Council of the Kelley School of Business and is active in supporting Habitat for Humanity.

Jerry Bialek

Jerry Bialek

Interim Chief Financial Officer
Vice President – International Finance & Treasurer
Jerry Bialek

Jerry Bialek joined Cooper in 2014, and currently serves as the company’s Vice President – International Finance & Treasurer. In August 2020, in addition to his existing responsibilities, Bialek assumed the role of Interim Chief Financial Officer.

With more than three decades of financial leadership experience, Bialek has served in a series of increasingly responsible Finance, Strategy and Investor Relations posts including Director – Investor Relations & Strategic Planning and Vice President – Finance & Strategy, supporting Cooper’s Asia operations.

Before joining Cooper, Bialek held a variety of positions within the automotive industry, beginning with 18 years at Ford Motor Company and including three years at Volvo Car Corporation in Gothenburg, Sweden. Following his time with Ford, Bialek held senior finance roles with Amcor Rigid Plastics, Johnson Controls and Taica North America Corporation.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.

John Bodart

John Bodart

Senior Vice President – Transformation
John Bodart

John Bodart was named Senior Vice President – Transformation in September 2019. He is responsible for driving the execution of a portfolio of key strategic initiatives tied to business strategy and leading the company’s Project Management Office.

Bodart joined Cooper Tire more than 30 years ago, beginning his career as a Development Engineer and then moving into several technical management positions with increasing responsibility. He has served as Plant Manager of Cooper’s Texarkana, Arkansas plant and General Manager of the company's Mexico Operations, including the Corporación de Occidente manufacturing joint venture, and the wholly owned Cooper de Mexico sales and marketing organization. Bodart has also served as Cooper’s Vice President – North America Sales and Vice President – Global Manufacturing, the position he held immediately prior to his current role.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from The University of Toledo (Ohio), and a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from The University of Findlay (Ohio).

Phil Kortokrax

Phil Kortokrax

Senior Vice President - Global Operations & Procurement
Phil Kortokrax

Phil Kortokrax was named Senior Vice President - Global Operations & Procurement in 2018 after serving for approximately three years as Vice President—North America. In his current role, he is responsible for overseeing the company’s global manufacturing operations, which includes eight tire production plants on three continents, as well as global procurement. He is also responsible for the company’s emerging global original equipment (OE) business, worldwide truck and bus radial (TBR) tire business and global environment, health, safety and security function.

Kortokrax has been with Cooper for 28 years in a career that has included leadership positions in a wide range of functional areas including Information Technology, Finance, Strategy, Sales and Marketing and Operations.

He 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 North America Tire Operations as Vice President—Dealer Channel Sales. Three years later, he was made Vice President—Strategic Marketing & Planning, and in 2012, he was appointed Vice President, Manufacturing and Supply Chain—North America Tire Operations. Three years later, Kortokrax was named to lead Cooper’s North America Tire Operations, a post he held until being named to his current role.

Kortokrax holds a bachelor’s degree in business systems analysis from the University of Findlay (Ohio), and a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from the University of Toledo (Ohio).

Ben Patel

Ben Patel

Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer
Ben Patel

Ben Patel was named Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer in November 2019. He is responsible for product planning and development, as well as engineering and technology across all regions. Patel leads a technology organization that includes a global technical center as well as technical centers in Asia, Europe and North America.

Patel joined Cooper from Tenneco, Inc. where he most recently served as Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer. In an earlier role at Tenneco, he served in the Global Clean Air Division as its Vice President, Global Research and Development, and helped create new products for global light and commercial vehicle customers to meet environmental and performance standards. Prior to Tenneco, Patel spent 12 years at General Electric (GE) in technical roles of increasing responsibility including Senior Research Scientist at GE’s Global Research Center within the Polymer and Chemical Technology Laboratory.

Patel earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Ottawa, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Yale University. He holds 24 U.S. patents and has been published in more than a dozen scientific publications. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Lincoln Electric, a leading producer of welding products.

Jaap van Wessum

Jaap van Wessum

General Manager – Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA)
Jaap van Wessum

Jaap van Wessum joined the company in 2016 as Sales Director for European operations. He was named General Manager—Europe, Middle East and Africa in 2018 with responsibility for overseeing the EMEA business unit.

Van Wessum has more than two decades of experience in the tire industry. Prior to joining Cooper, he held global positions within the Vredestein organization including serving as Director, Marketing and Sales for Apollo Vredestein BV.

Van Wessum earned a degree in Business Economics with a focus on Industrial Marketing from Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He is active in the European Tyre Manufacturing Association (ETRMA).

Paula Whitesell

Paula Whitesell

Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer
Paula Whitesell

Paula Whitesell joined Cooper in July 2020 as Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO). She is responsible for leadership of global human resources and communications.

Whitesell came to Cooper from Peapod Digital Labs (PDL), where she served as Vice President, Human Resources, and was responsible for human resources, communications and customer care. PDL is a unit of Ahold Delhaize, which is one of the world’s largest food retail groups and an international leader in supermarkets and e-commerce. She progressed to this role after serving as Vice President of Human Resources at Peapod, LLC, a leading online grocer.

Prior to Peapod, Paula had an 18-year career with Whirlpool Corporation, where she most recently served as Senior Director—Global Human Resources, a position she attained after progressing through a number of diverse leadership roles in human resources, and within the business, including finance, customer care, and integrated supply chain, leading the trade customer support team. Her career has also included roles in Tier 1 automotive industry suppliers such as VDO-Siemens and Budd Thyssenkrupp Company.

Whitesell holds a bachelor’s degree in public affairs with special studies in labor relations and a master of business administration degree (MBA), both from Indiana University.

Alan Yang

Alan Yang

Vice President & General Manager - Asia
Alan Yang

Alan Yang was named Vice President & General Manager-Asia in August 2018. In this role, he leads the company’s business and its subsidiary entities throughout Asia.

Yang has significant tire industry and global leadership experience, including time at Cooper earlier in his career, serving as National Sales Director (China) and then as Vice President & General Manager of China Operations. Most recently, Yang was the Chief Operating Officer of China National Rubber Company (a unit of ChemChina) and led that company’s tire business, including the integration of the Pirelli and Prometeon businesses. Prior to that, he was the Chief Executive Officer of China National Chemical Environment Company (a unit of ChemChina).

Yang holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Inner Mongolia University of Technology.

Steve Zamansky

Steve Zamansky

Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary
Steve Zamansky

In April 2011, Steve Zamansky was named Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for the company. He was, in 2014, appointed Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, providing leadership over Cooper's legal affairs as well as corporate governance and compliance functions.

Zamansky joined Cooper from Essar Minerals Americas Inc. (former Trinity Coal Corporation), where he was Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary.

Zamansky also served as Consulting General Counsel within his own legal and business consulting practice in addition to serving as General Counsel & Secretary for Titan Propane LLC and as General Counsel, Secretary and Senior Vice President – Corporate Affairs for DSL.net, Inc. Prior to his tenure at DSL.net, Inc., Zamansky was a Judicial Clerk for the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, an Attorney with Wall Street firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, and an Attorney with Day, Berry & Howard, now Day Pitney LLP.

Zamansky received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, where he graduated with honors. He obtained his Juris Doctor degree from Boston College, where he graduated summa cum laude and served on the Boston College Law Review.