A century is a long time to accumulate bad habits. Goodyear Tire & Rubber … said it would try to shed some, by selling $2 billion of assets, streamlining its business and paying down debt. Corporate cage-rattler Elliott Investment Management, which won seats on the board in July, blessed the moves, which echo shifts rocking other aged industrial icons.

Goodyear‘s interests stretch from tire manufacturing to running more than 1,000 retail locations. It‘s now slimming down the sprawl, splitting off a chemicals business, among others. Fellow industrial centenarians also are cleaning up messes. General Electric (GE.N) and 3M (MMM.N) are among the others splintering themselves.

Goodyear could be rolling toward something bigger, too. Richard Kramer, chief executive for 14 years, is stepping down. As the $4 billion company tidies itself, it could turn out to be worth more in pieces.


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