Laster is responsible for overall business strategy, product quality and performance, as well as development of effective sales and marketing activities in North America for the Continental and VDO brand of products sold to the automotive aftermarket.
“Howard Laster has made a substantial contribution to the growth and success of our organization,” said Jerry Gabbard, vice president and general manager of continental commercial vehicles and aftermarket for NAFTA. “This promotion reflects the outstanding leadership and performance he has demonstrated in the variety of challenging sales and marketing management roles he has tackled during his 19-year career with the company. We look forward to his continued leadership and guidance.”
In his new role as head of the aftermarket segment, Laster is also charged with leading the company’s product management team, which is organized into three product marketing teams. Team leaders for the product groups include: Steve Landis, TPMS replacement parts and automotive electronic innovations; Dan Caciolo, engine management, fuel supply and brake systems and Dave Maclay, HVAC, door systems, new product introductions and cataloging.
Additionally, Laster is responsible for guiding the diagnostics and services business team in the development of business with the automotive OEMs, commercial and specialty vehicle target markets as well as aftermarket innovations.
In his previous role as director of product management and new business development, Laster was instrumental in helping Continental create and successfully launch its flagship product, the VDO REDI-Sensor Multi-application TPMS Sensor and helped to establish both the product and the brand as one of the leading TPMS programs in the automotive aftermarket.
Prior to joining Continental, Laster was marketing manager for Blue Chip Products and product manager for KSG Safeguard Engine Parts as well as owner and general manager of First Auto Parts, a proprietorship he maintained for 10 years.