Having spent over a decade elevating Coker Tire to an industry powerhouse, Wade Kawasaki has chosen to step down as CEO from Legendary Companies
CHATTANOOGA, TENN. (Oct. 1, 2021) – Legendary Companies, which includes Coker Tire, Wheel Vintiques, Universal Vintage Tire, Phoenix Race Tires, Specialty Wheel, MOR, Vintage Wheel Works, PS Engineering, Roadster Wire Wheel, and Paragon Corvette Reproductions, announced today that Wade Kawasaki will transition from his role of CEO while remaining a partner in the business – a decision by Kawasaki who took on the CEO role with Legendary Companies three years ago.
“After guiding Coker Tire through the acquisition process, I agreed to stay on as CEO for a three- year term to build a robust management team and add more companies to the portfolio,” said Legendary Companies President and CEO Wade Kawasaki. “As that term draws to a close, I am excited to take some personal time and pursue new interests. I will be rooting for the entire Legendary Companies team and know they have a bright future. It’s been a tremendous honor serving as CEO and I know the company will remain in good hands following my departure. I’m also pleased to announce that we have asked my close friend and colleague Doug Evans to join the team as an Interim CEO while we begin a search process for the new CEO.”
After the sale in 2018 of Coker Tire and Wheel Vintiques to Irving Place Capital (IPC), Kawasaki led Legendary Companies and helped the organization identify and complete multiple acquisitions along with the significant expansion of the company’s management team. Kawasaki will retain an ownership stake in the company and will work closely with IPC to execute a transition plan. The senior management team Kawasaki assembled over his tenure will continue to help guide the company along with IPC leadership and the new CEO.
“We will all miss Wade at Legendary Companies,” said Phil Carpenter, co-managing partner of Irving Place Capital. “His decades of industry insight and knowledge have been an incredible asset to grow the business and we’re very grateful to have had him leading these brands both through the acquisition and after.”
Kawasaki has spent over 40 years in the automotive aftermarket, 25 of which were spent in various leadership positions within the Specialty Equipment Market Association, finishing his multi-term stint as Chairman of the Board. During his time at Coker Tire, Kawasaki helped transform the family business into a lean, profitable, and scalable operation before guiding the brand through its sale to IPC.
To learn more about Legendary Companies, visit www.legendarycompanies.com.
Legendary Companies, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is the holding company comprised of leading manufacturers of collector car and motorcycle wheels and tires, which includes Coker Tire, Wheel Vintiques, Universal Vintage Tire, Phoenix Race Tires, Specialty Wheel, MOR, Vintage Wheel Works, PS Engineering and Roadster Wire Wheel. Legendary Companies is backed by investment firm Irving Place Capital and represents the breadth and scope of its current market segments while providing for greater opportunities for future expansion into new sectors.
About Irving Place Capital
Since its founding in 1997, Irving Place Capital has invested in over 60 portfolio companies. The firm focuses on making control or entrepreneur-driven investments where it can apply its substantial operating and strategic resources and expertise to enhance value. Irving Place Capital has successfully executed a broad range of transactions, including buyouts, recapitalizations, build-ups, corporate divestitures, take-privates, and distressed-to-control situations. Irving Place Capital generally seeks to invest in companies headquartered in North America. More information about Irving Place Capital is available at www.irvingplacecapital.com