Ford Announces Exec Changes Including -O'Connor Retirers - Hesterberg Replaces
* James G. O'Connor is retiring as group vice president, North America, Marketing, Sales & Service at year's end, and will be succeeded by Earl Hesterberg, currently vice president, Ford of Europe, Marketing, Sales & Service. * Marv Adams is promoted to senior vice president, chief information officer. * Tony Brown is promoted to senior vice president, Global Purchasing. * John Fleming is elected president, Ford of Europe, reporting to Lewis Booth, Ford of Europe's chairman and chief executive officer. * Geoff Polites is elected a company vice president and vice president, Marketing, Sales & Service for Ford of Europe, reporting to Lewis Booth. * Antonio Maciel, currently president of Ford South America, is elected a company vice president.
DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 10 -- Ford Motor Company announced today key executive appointments in its Americas and Ford of Europe operations and two corporate staff promotions.
In the Americas, the company announced Jim O'Connor's plans to retire on December 31 as the company's group vice president, North America, Marketing, Sales & Service. O'Connor will be ending a distinguished 40-year career as one of Ford's marketing, sales and service leaders as he assists in the transition to his successor over the next three months. Earl Hesterberg, a company vice president and Ford of Europe's vice president of Marketing, Sales & Service, will succeed O'Connor as group vice president, North America, Marketing, Sales & Service. Hesterberg will report to Greg Smith, executive vice president of the Americas, effective October 1.
"Jim has stayed longer than he planned at my request, and for that the Ford Motor Company will always be indebted to him," said Bill Ford, the company's chairman and chief executive officer. "It will be hard to imagine a Ford Motor Company without Jim. He'll always be remembered for his professionalism, as well as his terrific sense of humor and ability to tell a good story. Jim led our marketing, sales and service efforts over the years, and he has been one of our company's most valuable ambassadors. We'll miss him, as will the many Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers who have counted on his support. Fortunately, our company will continue to benefit from the talented teams he has built and from the organizational foundations he has created.
"Looking ahead, we expect Earl Hesterberg to continue as a strong and effective marketing, sales and service leader," Ford added. "At Ford of Europe, he was successful at improving its sales performance, even as the European marketplace grew increasingly competitive. His previous leadership experience at other automotive brands should also prove to be valuable as he takes on new challenges in North America."
Hesterberg began his Ford career in 1975. In 1982, he moved to Nissan and spent 16 years in various assignments, including Vice President, General Manager, Nissan Division in the U.S. from 1991 to 1995, and later vice president, Sales, Nissan of Europe. In 1997, Hesterberg was appointed president and chief executive officer of Gulf States Toyota, Inc., a private company that imports and distributes Toyota products in the south and central U.S. Hesterberg returned to Ford in 1999 when he joined Ford of Europe as vice president, Marketing, Sales & Service.
In addition, the company announced two corporate staff promotions. Marv Adams has been promoted to senior vice president, chief information officer, and Tony Brown has been promoted to senior vice president, Global Purchasing. Adams and Brown previously had been leading their global corporate staff functions as vice presidents. The promotions reflect the scope and complexity of the functions they lead.
At Ford of Europe, the company announced two key executive appointments:
* John Fleming, Ford of Europe's current vice president of Manufacturing, will become its president, effective October 1. He will report to Lewis Booth, Ford of Europe's chairman and chief executive officer. Fleming, a 37- year veteran of the Ford Motor Company, has distinguished himself as a leader in driving manufacturing flexibility and productivity at Ford's European plants, which are now among the market's most efficient.
* Geoff Polites, currently vice president, European Sales Staff, Ford of Europe, will succeed Hesterberg as a corporate vice president and as vice president, Marketing, Sales & Service, Ford of Europe, effective October 1. Polites, who started his career with Ford in 1970, also served 11 years as a dealer principal at City Ford in Australia, where he won Ford's coveted President's Award three times and served on the Ford National Dealer Council for five years. He rejoined Ford in 1999 as president of Ford Australia after selling his interests in City Ford.
"We will miss Earl Hesterberg, but the appointment of Geoff and John will ensure that we maintain leadership strength and continuity at Ford of Europe," said Lewis Booth, Ford of Europe's chairman and chief executive officer. "These moves also mean a continued focus on the Ford of Europe priorities of great quality, exciting products, returning to profitability, and inspiring our people."
Separately, the company announced the election of Antonio Maciel as a company vice president, effective October 1. Maciel continues as president of Ford South America, which he assumed October 2003.
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures and distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With more than 318,000 employees worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Aston Martin, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury and Volvo. Its automotive-related services include Ford Credit, Quality Care and Hertz. Ford Motor Company celebrated its 100th anniversary on June 16, 2003.
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