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Key global executive moves at Jaguar Land Rover

Fresh focus: Phil Popham is set to become responsible for the global marketing activity of Jaguar and Land Rover, and, if reports prove correct, will soon be asked to explain why Jaguar is preparing to launch an SUV.

JLR shuffles executive team, ‘unifies’ its brands, as part of global growth program

Jaguar logo29 Aug 2013

JAGUAR Land Rover has reshuffled its senior management team and created a “unified” global sales and marketing structure for the two famous British brands in a bid to “maximise the future growth opportunities for the group”.

The company said the changes also serve to create dedicated resources in “strategy development and processes”, reflecting the recent international sales growth and increased operational scale of the Tata Motors-owned,British-based manufacturer.

Among the changes, director of group sales operations Phil Popham will become JLR group marketing director and responsible for all global marketing activity on both brands.

In his place steps Andy Goss, currently president of JLR North America, who will join the executive committee and take over the lead of Mr Popham’s current team.

Global Jaguar brand director Adrian Hallmark will move to a newly created role of group strategy director, which makes him responsible for “developing business strategy, process and supporting strategic projects” for both brands, while Land Rover’s global brand director John Edwards will move to a still-to-be announced role in the senior management team.

The changes are effective from October 1, although a new head of North America is still to be announced.

The company has also named Castle Bromwich operations director Grant McPherson as its incoming director of quality and automotive safety, replacing Wolfram Liedtke when he retires at the end of this year.

In a statement, JLR chief executive Ralf Speth described the reorganisation as representing “a natural evolution of our management team, designed to sharpen our relentless focus on customer first”.

“It is the next phase in our development, mirroring the recent changes we made to product creation and delivery, and bringing together the strategy and processes supporting the brands,” he said.

JLR’s global sales were up 14 per cent for the first half of 2013 compared with the same period last year, with 210,190 units and year-to-date increases recorded in every major region including Asia-Pacific (up 26 per cent), Britain and China (both up 16 per cent), North America (13 per cent) and even Europe (6 per cent).

In Australia, results to the end of July show Jaguar sales are up 24 per cent to 604 units – the XF accounting for most of these (507) – while Land Rover sales have climbed 6.5 per cent to 5166 units.

JLR is targeting global annual sales of 750,000 units by 2020, with a longer-term goal of one million units. Last year, the company was just shy of 358,000 sales, up 30 per cent on 2011.

To get there, the company is planning some radical cross-fertilisation between the Jaguar and Land Rover brands.

Overseas reports indicate Jaguar is poised announce that it is expanding its model range with its first-ever SUV, which is expected to reach production in 2016 and could be shown in concept form as early as next month’s Frankfurt motor show.

An all-new sub-XF model is also believed to be in the works, based on the same PLA platform as the SUV (and other models in the group) and providing Jaguar with a long-overdue new contender in the volume-selling prestige medium sedan class dominated by the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4.

JLR will also continue to expand its Land Rover brand with new derivatives such as the hybrid Range Rover models to be shown at Frankfurt ahead of their debut in Australia next year.

As GoAuto has reported, Land Rover’s design director Gerry McGovern said at the Sydney motor show last October that the British SUV specialist was looking at how its brand could be “stretched”.

A new-generation Defender and Freelander are in development, while other variants on the table include a high-performance Evoque, smaller sub-Evoque crossover and, at the other end of the scale, a new ultra-luxury Range Rover flagship.

“We are looking at how small can we go, what direction we can go, lots of questions that we are asking ourselves internally,” Mr McGovern said.

“I truly believe that Land Rover, because of its roots, has the ability to stretch and have greater resonance with a greater number of people.”

Meanwhile, Mr Goss said this week that his new global sale role gave him a mandate to “personally oversee the acceleration of our business in our largest and most influential markets, especially the United States”.

“We have an ambitious global agenda for both of our brands and I look forward to helping the team reach new heights,” he said.

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