The last time we heard the name Stephen Odell, it was in connection to a list of possible replacements for current CEO Alan Mulally. While we aren't here to report on the top executive position at Ford, Odell has been tapped as Fredrik Arp's replacement as CEO of Volvo. Arp, who is leaving the automaker for other pursuits, had been serving as Volvo CEO and President since his appointment in October of 2005. Starting in October of this year, Odell will be responsible for leading Volvo towards "sustained profitability", something not seen by the Swedish automaker in quite a while. According to the newly-appointed CEO, the Volvo brand will continue to stand for "safety, environmental concern and its Scandinavian design." Frederik Arp is the third Ford exec outside the U.S. to leave in the last few weeks, following Bill Osborne -- the previous President of Ford Australia -- and Barry Engle, who had been serving as Ford of Canada's top official.

[Source: Ford]


PRESS RELEASE

STEPHEN ODELL APPOINTED PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF VOLVO CAR CORPORATION

DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 2, 2008 – Ford Motor Company today announced the appointment of Stephen Odell as president and chief executive officer of Volvo Car Corporation, replacing Fredrik Arp, who has decided to leave the company.

Effective Oct. 1, Odell, 53, will be responsible for Volvo's global operations out of its headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, and lead the company's drive toward sustained profitability through continued restructuring and the accelerated development of high-quality, fuel-efficient and safe vehicles in the premium end of the market.

Odell, who has played a key role in Ford of Europe's resurgence as its chief operating officer, will report to Lewis Booth, executive vice president of Ford Motor Company and chairman of Volvo Car Corporation, who will continue to oversee the strategic direction of Volvo.

"Stephen Odell brings to Volvo a wealth of experience of strong leadership in the automotive industry," said Alan Mulally, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. "Given his strong track record at Ford, Jaguar and Mazda, the time is now right for Stephen to take up this new challenge at Volvo. I believe that Stephen is the right person – together with Lewis Booth and the Volvo Cars Management Team – to take Volvo forward and to return the business to sustainable profitability."

Booth thanked Fredrik Arp for his leadership of Volvo over the past three years, a period in which Volvo reduced costs and strengthened its product lineup despite a difficult business environment and challenges presented by adverse currency exchange rates and other external factors.

"Fredrik has steered the Volvo team through some difficult times since joining the company three years ago. His wide experience in business has been a strong asset in helping to develop and implement Volvo's plan to improve its business results.

"Fredrik has decided that now is the right time to hand over to a new president and CEO, Stephen Odell, who will lead the Volvo team through the next stage of its recovery."

Odell said he is excited to lead Volvo at an important time in the company's history.

"Volvo is one of the great iconic automotive brands," Odell said. "The very attributes that make Volvo distinctively Swedish – its heritage of safety, environmental concern and its Scandinavian design -- appeal to customers around the globe. Our strategy is to enhance the premium nature of Volvo by further strengthening these attributes. Volvo really is the auto brand for today's customers.

"We have a restructuring plan in place that will help to deliver a more competitive business and that enables Volvo to continue to build upon its core strengths. Volvo will adopt a more stand-alone approach within Ford Motor Company, while still leveraging product development and purchasing synergies with other Ford operations."

Before he was appointed chief operating officer of Ford of Europe in April 2008 responsible for product development, manufacturing, purchasing, and marketing, sales and service operations, Odell served as Ford of Europe's vice president of marketing, sales and service for nearly three years.

Prior to that, he held several senior level positions at Mazda Motor Corporation from 2000 to 2005. From 1997 to 2000, Odell was vice president, marketing and sales, Jaguar North America. Stephen Odell joined Ford of Britain in 1980 as a graduate trainee. A native of London, he is married with two children.

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Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Michigan, United States, manufactures or distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 230,000 employees and about 100 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.