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Senior Ford man to head Volvo as Arp departs
Vote of confidence: Stephen Odell takes the reigns at Volvo Car.
Volvo Car boss resigns, replaced by Ford's European boss Stephen Odell
9 September 2008
THE Ford Motor Company has named its chief operating officer for Europe, Stephen Odell, as the incoming president and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation, replacing Frederik Arp who has resigned.
The position becomes effective October 1 and is being seen as a vote of confidence in Ford’s struggling Swedish brand, although it could ultimately lead to cutbacks as Ford charges Mr Odell with “continued restructuring”.
Respected for his role in resurrecting Ford’s fortunes in Europe, Mr Odell will lead the company’s drive toward “sustained profitability through continued restructuring and the accelerated development of high-quality, fuel-efficient and safe vehicles in the premium end of the market”.
Mr Odell will report to Ford Motor Co executive vice-president and Volvo chairman Lewis Booth, who will continue to oversee the strategic direction of the Scandinavian marque – the last remaining brand in Ford’s Premier Automotive Group.
“We have a restructuring plan in place that will help to deliver a more competitive business and that enables Volvo to continue to build upon its core strengths,” Mr Odell said.
“Volvo will adopt a more stand-alone approach within Ford Motor Company, while still leveraging product development and purchasing synergies with other Ford operations.
“The very attributes that make Volvo distinctively Swedish – its heritage of safety, environmental concern and its Scandinavian design – appeal to customers around the globe. Our strategy is to enhance the premium nature of Volvo by further strengthening these attributes. Volvo really is the auto brand for today's customers.”
FoMoCo president and CEO Alan Mulally said: “Given his strong track record at Ford, Jaguar and Mazda, the time is now right for Stephen to take up this new challenge at Volvo. I believe that Stephen is the right person – together with Lewis Booth and the Volvo Cars Management Team – to take Volvo forward and to return the business to sustainable profitability.”
Ford will not replace Mr Odell, abolishing the role of European chief operating officer. He took up that position in April this year and was responsible for product development, manufacturing, purchasing, and marketing, sales and service operations.
Prior to that, he served as Ford of Europe’s vice-president of marketing, sales and service for nearly three years.
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