Ziebart International Corp., a global detailing, film, and structural protection provider in Troy, announced its president and CEO for the past 28 years, Thomas E. Wolfe, will step down to the role of executive vice president and chairman of the board and his son, Thomas A. Wolfe, will assume the role of president and CEO.
“When leading a company that is over 60 years old, you have to keep innovating,” says Thomas E. Wolfe. “It has been my honor to work with our exceptional team and our franchisees to diversify our offerings and make Ziebart stronger with each passing year.”
Wolfe’s journey with Ziebart began in 1977, when he started as a controller. From there, in the mid-80s, he worked his way up to the position of treasurer and member of the board of directors. In 1994, he successfully led the company’s employees to buy out the previous owners as a method to increase employee pride in the business’ success.
He also led Ziebart to expand its offerings from a single-service rust-proofing company to become a multi-service solutions car care provider. Under the elder Wolfe’s leadership, Ziebart evolved to offer a lineup of market-leading appearance and protection services including detailing, paint protection and correction, window tinting, spray-on bed liners, windshield coating, undercoating, and more.
In taking over the role of president and CEO, Thomas A. Wolfe, who has served in a variety of roles at Ziebart over the past 12 years, says he is committed to continuing that culture of innovation.
“Among the many lessons I learned from working alongside my father at Ziebart over the years is the importance of adaptation to meet customers’ changing needs,” he says. “He instilled in our entire leadership team the importance of being adaptable and fluid.
“As cars and customers are changing rapidly, he taught us we have to commit to constant innovation — we have to celebrate and execute on good ideas in real-time to stay ahead in this industry. That’s the legacy that I will continue to carry forward.”
In 2021 Ziebart experienced a year-over-year increase of 40 percent in retail leads. Factors driving the record-breaking growth include the automotive chip shortage, which is motivating consumers to invest in optimal care and protection for their existing or recently purchased new or used vehicles.
Thomas A. Wolfe said his priorities are to increase Ziebart dealer sales through the new product development and marketing initiatives, increasing store counts worldwide, be fully engaged in the field to support concurrent and prospective franchisees, and build on key supplier relationships.
Over the past year, Ziebart has promoted several team members:
- Daniel C. Baker – executive vice president
- Michael Riley – senior vice president, franchise development
- Bruce Weir – senior vice president, international operations
- Brian Jackman- vice president, treasurer
- Larry Stewart – vice president, information technology
- Larisa Walega – vice president, marketing
- Naji Younes – vice president, international business
“The future is bright as our best-in-class leadership team continues to innovate and support our growing franchise network to succeed in their local markets,” says Thomas A. Wolfe. “I’m excited to get into the field to talk with our franchisees about their needs and listen to their ideas. Listening and innovating has gotten us to where we are today and will get us where we want to be in the future.”
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