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Gorman says Ford is in “very good shape”

Job done: Tom Gorman says a lot of the hard work has been completed at Broadmeadows.

Ford Australia boss hands over the reigns

Ford logo12 Feb 2008


DEPARTING Ford Australia president Tom Gorman is confident he is leaving the company in “very good shape” despite sales of locally made models dropping to record lows.

Mr Gorman has handed over to Bill Osbourne, who arrived in Australia late last week, just months out from the launch of the all-important Orion Falcon that he has overseen from its initial approval through to the final stages of pre-production.

The American executive, who will head to London for a new challenge with logistics company Brambles, said last week that Ford Australia is now in a good position after recent staff cuts and line rate reductions as well as a decision to end engine production in Geelong.

“We did a lot of great work last year to get our business in better shape,” he said.

“I feel like I am handing the business over to Bill with a lot of the hard work done and a lot of the business is in a better position, but this is a business and industry in which every year a new challenge comes up.”

While Mr Gorman would not discuss the economic performance of the company in detail, he does not expect a repeat of Ford Australia’s $40.3 million loss for the 2006 financial year.

“Next financial year should be better than last,” he said.

Mr Gorman said that, even if the new Orion Falcon was a big hit, the company would not invest to increase its production line rate but would enact overtime shifts when required.

“We are not going to reduce the number of vehicles produced per hour. We do see ourselves sold out for the year and potentially using some overtime if volume exceeds our expectations,” he said.

Of course, no matter what happens to the new Falcon, Mr Gorman will not be around to watch.

Asked how he felt about leaving before the Orion Falcon went on sale, Mr Gorman admitted the timing was not good.

“I have been the second-longest serving president of the last six, so me leaving Ford Australia was going to happen in six or twelve months anyway,” he said.

“I wish the timing was a little better, but the car is done. These guys have done the car, my job is to empower them.”

As for his decision to leave the country rather than take another post within Ford Motor Company, Mr Gorman said it was personal.

“Me leaving Ford was a just a matter of an oppourtunity came along and where I am in my life. It was a very personal thing to try something very, very different,” he said.

“Living in Europe again is exciting for my family and I, so that was very personal.”

Mr Gorman talked up his replacement and said Mr Osbourne’s engineering expertise would be a big plus for Ford Australia.

“He has a very strong technical background and he will bring that to the table. After (former Ford Australia president) Geoff Polites and myself being skewed a bit more to the market side and in my case very much the financial side, I think it is going to be a very good change.”

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