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Ford marketing veteran Katic to leave post
Senior Ford Australia executive David Katic to leave company at the end of April
24 Apr 2015
By TERRY MARTIN
FORD Australia has confirmed that long-serving general manager of marketing David Katic is leaving the company at the end of the month “to pursue other opportunities”.
The move comes just weeks after Ford Australia president and CEO Bob Graziano unexpectedly stepped down ahead of the American-owned car-maker’s exit from Australian manufacturing –scheduled to take place in October next year – and amid its critical transition to a national sales operation.
Mr Katic is a 25-year veteran at Ford Australia, starting his career as a marketing analyst at the company’s Broadmeadows head office in Victoria in 1990.
A spokesperson for Ford Australia confirmed to GoAuto this week that Mr Katic was leaving the company at the end of April, but was unable to provide more information.
A replacement is still to be named, and while various rumours are circulating about Mr Katic’s next move, none have been corroborated and Mr Katic has not replied to GoAuto’s request for further details.
Mr Katic has been one of the architects of Ford’s transition into a more consumer-focused business, particularly as it prepares to close its factories next year.
He was a leading figure behind the ‘Go Further’ advertising campaign, and as recently as mid-April, in an interview with GoAuto, Mr Katic emphasised that the company was taking a long-term approach to rebuilding its business as a full-line import brand focused heavily on private sales and customer service.
He also said Ford was unconcerned about its sliding sales – down 18.5 per cent for the first quarter this year – and market share, which has eroded to 5.9 per cent over the same period.
“We are taking the long-term view to our business,” he said. “We are not interested in last month’s sales results we are interested in building our business for the long term.
“We are changing our brand from being a large car, fleet-focused brand to being a consumer-centric broad manufacturer of vehicles and that takes time.
“And we are absolutely where we want to be.”
Mr Katic’s departure comes just a few weeks after Mr Graziano retired earlier than expected and immediately returned to the United States, handing over to vice-president of marketing, sales and service Graeme Whickman.
Mr Katic has worked as marketing general manager for the past six years and over the past quarter of a century has worked in key positions in marketing, sales, network, product planning and development.
He quickly rose through the ranks during the early 1990s after joining the company through its graduate program. He had stints as a sales analyst and dealer development manager before transferring in 1995 to the Ford’s global headquarters in Michigan, where he spent three years working as a product planner.
He played a key role from Dearborn in the 1998 Falcon Ute cab-chassis program, and upon his return served as truck marketing manager.
He subsequently moved into e-business and later spent three years as southern region manager before taking on the position of general sales manager in 2005.
Four years later Mr Katic was named general marketing manager and, among various duties, was heavily involved in the product development and marketing of the Australian-developed PX Ranger utility – now Ford’s biggest-selling vehicle by a country mile with the ongoing downturn of its locally produced vehicles.
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