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Fields reshuffles top management deck at Ford

Key role: Jim Farley is charged with accelerating Ford’s transformation in Europe, where it is banking on a raft of new models – combined with ongoing cost cuts – to drive it back to profitability.

Farley heads Europe as Odell leads global sales, marketing in major shake-up at Ford

Ford logo13 Nov 2014

FORD Motor Company has made a series of changes to its senior management team headlined by Jim Farley taking over from Stephen Odell as president of its European operations, based in Cologne, Germany.

The two executives will effectively swap jobs, with Mr Odell appointed executive vice-president of global marketing, sales and service, working out of Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.

Both will continue to report directly to company president and CEO Mark Fields, who took over from Alan Mulally in July. The positions become effective January 1.

Mr Farley’s appointment puts the 52-year-old in charge of the Europe, Middle East and Africa division and he will be responsible for accelerating the American auto giant’s turnaround in the region, where it is anticipating a loss of $US1.2 billion ($A1.38b) this year.

Ford says Mr Farley, who has led the company’s global sales and marketing activities since 2007, will be responsible for “continuing to lead and accelerate Ford’s transformation in Europe, executing the ‘One Ford’ plan to achieve profitable growth through an unprecedented focus on new products, a strong brand and increased cost efficiency”.

“We are excited to see Jim and Stephen take on these new roles as they bring unique skills, experience and fresh perspectives to these critical positions,” Mr Fields said.

“These moves also underscore our commitment to develop our senior leaders through deep experience within both our business units and our global skill teams.”

Mr Farley, who before joining Ford was group vice-president and general manager of Toyota’s Lexus division, is credited with leading the company’s drive to “connect more closely with customers through integrated global marketing, advertising, digital communications, brand development and research”.

He also played a key role in “ongoing transformation of Lincoln, setting it on a path for growth as a world-class luxury brand and customer experience”.

Mr Odell, meanwhile, has overseen Ford’s European transformation plan since 2010 and is well respected for his role in turning around Volvo and Mazda “by reinvigorating their product lines, improving their brands and addressing cost and capacity issues”.

Despite ongoing challenges in Europe this year, particularly the Russian market, Ford’s sales, share and financial performance are slowly improving in the region.

As head of marketing, sales and service, Mr Odell, 59, who has served the company and its affiliates for 34 years, “will be focused on continuing to build the Ford and Lincoln brands globally through innovative new digital communications and transforming the retail experience for customers”.

In other senior management changes, chief information officer Nick Smither is retiring and will be succeeded by Marcy Klevorn, who currently works as a director of the CIO department.

Also retiring is vice-president of sustainability, environment and safety engineering Robert Brown, who will be replaced by Kim Pittel, currently executive director of global supplier technical assistance.

Ms Klevorn and Ms Pittel will also report directly to Mr Fields.

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