Ford marketing chief Jim Farley is taking over the company's troubled European operations as part of an executive shuffle confirmed on Friday morning.
"We are excited to see Jim and Stephen take on these new roles as they bring unique skills, experience and fresh perspectives to these critical positions." – Mark Fields
Farley will switch jobs with current Ford of Europe boss, Stephen Odell, who has led the unit since 2010. The moves are effective Jan. 1.
"We are excited to see Jim and Stephen take on these new roles as they bring unique skills, experience and fresh perspectives to these critical positions," Ford CEO Mark Fields said in a statement.
Farley, 52, joined Ford in 2007. He has overseen Ford's global marketing, sales and service since 2010, and it's the first time the automaker has had a single executive handle all of those responsibilities. He also briefly oversaw the Lincoln luxury brand from December 2012 to August 2014.
Farley came to Ford after a long career with Toyota, where he had worked since 1990, including stints as head of Lexus and the Toyota brand's marketing in the United States. Earlier in his career, he was widely credited for the successful launch of Scion, Toyota's youth-oriented brand.
Farley is one of the industry's most outspoken executives, and this year he drew fire for saying that Ford tracks its customers by using in-car technologies (a statement he later revised). He also was quoted in the 2011 book Once Upon A Car as saying he wanted to "beat Chevrolet on the head with a bat," along with another profane statement about General Motors.
Odell, 59, takes over Farley's position, and will oversee Ford's global marketing efforts. The industry veteran has been at the company for 34 years, including stints as CEO of former Ford division, Volvo, from 2008 to 2010.
He also led marketing for Mazda (another former Ford unit), and is credited with executing the "zoom-zoom" campaign that has defined the company as a maker of sporty cars.
Meanwhile, Ford also announced Friday that Nick Smither will retire as group vice president and chief information officer. He'll be replaced by Marcy Klevorn. Similarly, Kim Pittel will take over as vice president of sustainability, environment and safety engineering, replacing the retiring Robert Brown.
- Jim Farley appointed executive vice president and president, Europe, Middle East and Africa
- Stephen Odell appointed executive vice president, Global Marketing, Sales and Service
- Nick Smither, group vice president and Chief Information Officer, has elected to retire after 34-year career
- Marcy Klevorn named vice president and Chief Information Officer, succeeding Smither and elected a Ford Motor Company officer
- Robert Brown, vice president, Sustainability, Environment & Safety Engineering, has elected to retire after 35-year career
- Kim Pittel named vice president, Sustainability, Environment & Safety Engineering, succeeding Brown and elected a Ford Motor Company officer
Ford Motor Company today is announcing a series of changes in its senior leadership team as it continues to deliver the company's One Ford plan for profitable growth.
Jim Farley is appointed executive vice president and president of Europe, Middle East and Africa. In parallel, Stephen Odell is appointed executive vice president, Global Marketing, Sales and Service. Both will continue to report to Mark Fields, Ford president and chief executive officer.
"We are excited to see Jim and Stephen take on these new roles as they bring unique skills, experience and fresh perspectives to these critical positions," said Fields. "These moves also underscore our commitment to develop our senior leaders through deep experience within both our business units and our global skill teams."
Farley, 52, currently serves as executive vice president of Global Marketing, Sales & Service, a position to which he was appointed in 2007. In this role, Farley has led the company's drive to connect more closely with customers through integrated global marketing, advertising, digital communications, brand development and research. He also was instrumental in leading the ongoing transformation of Lincoln, setting it on a path for growth as a world-class luxury brand and customer experience.
Before joining Ford, Farley was group vice president and general manager of Toyota Motor Corporation's Lexus luxury division. He spent more than 10 years in Marketing, Sales and Service leadership positions at Toyota, serving in the United States and Europe, for the company's Scion, Toyota and Lexus brands.
In his new role, Farley will be responsible for continuing to lead and accelerate Ford's transformation in Europe, executing the One Ford plan to achieve profitable growth through an unprecedented focus on new products, a strong brand and increased cost efficiency. The move is subject to immigration approval.
"Jim has done an excellent job improving our brand image around the world," said Fields. "Jim's commitment and passion for building the Ford and Lincoln brands have enabled us to connect with customers in new and innovative ways. He will have an opportunity to apply that same passion to build on the success of our products today in Europe and grow our business in the Middle East and Africa regions."
Odell, 59, has been leading the company's European operations since 2010 and currently serves as executive vice president and president, Europe, Middle East and Africa. Odell has been instrumental in leading the development and implementation of Ford's European transformation plan and the strategic development of the company's Middle East and Africa operations.
In his new role leading the company's Marketing, Sales and Service organization, Odell will be focused on continuing to build the Ford and Lincoln brands globally through innovative new digital communications and transforming the retail experience for customers.
During his 34-year career at Ford, Odell served as president and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation from 2008 to 2010 and led Marketing, Sales and Service at Ford of Europe and at Mazda Motor Corporation in Japan, where he was responsible for leading the successful "Zoom Zoom" marketing campaign for Mazda.
"Under Stephen's leadership, our European transformation plan is well under way, and we are poised to profitably grow as the region emerges from a long downturn," said Fields. "Stephen also was instrumental in turning around Volvo and Mazda by reinvigorating their product lines, improving their brands and addressing cost and capacity issues. He brings a wealth of global experience in marketing, sales and service to his new assignment."
Retirements and New Leaders
Ford also is announcing that Nick Smither, group vice president and Chief Information Officer, has elected to retire after more than 34 years at Ford. Succeeding Smither will be Marcy Klevorn, who is elected a Ford Motor Company officer and named vice president and Chief Information Officer.
Throughout his career at Ford, Smither, 56, led the information technology services function for North America, South America, International Operations, the Premier Automotive Group and Mazda. Smither also oversaw the development and implementation of Product Development technology systems across the company. He was appointed to his current position in 2008.
"The integrated IT approach that Nick brought to our teams has helped Ford become a faster, more agile and more innovative company," said Fields. "By leveraging our global scale and standardizing Ford's technology blueprint across our regions, Nick has enabled the IT function to drive efficiencies in every area of the business. We are grateful for his passion and leadership during three decades with Ford and congratulate him on his retirement."
Succeeding Smither is Marcy Klevorn, currently director, Office of the Chief Information Officer. She will report to Fields.
Klevorn, 55, will oversee the information technology services and strategy for all of the company's operations globally. She has spent her 31-year career in Information Technology with Ford, serving in a variety of positions in The Americas, Ford of Europe and Ford Credit.
She currently is responsible for developing and driving Information Technology's global strategy, security, governance, operating model and supplier management globally, as well as emerging technologies.
Robert Brown, vice president, Sustainability, Environment & Safety Engineering, also has elected to retire after more than 35 years at Ford. Succeeding Brown will be Kim Pittel, who is elected a Ford Motor Company officer and named vice president, Sustainability, Environment & Safety Engineering.
Appointed to his current role in 2012, Brown, 59, has been responsible for overseeing Ford's sustainability strategy and environmental policy, while ensuring that the company meets or exceeds all safety and environmental regulations worldwide. He also has been leading the company's safety strategy, promoting aggressive standardization of product technology that improves safety.
Since joining Ford as a compliance engineer in 1979, Brown has served in a variety of leadership positions, including Ford's environmental regulatory manager in Washington D.C., assistant director of the company's Automotive Safety Office and director of Vehicle Environmental Engineering.
"Robert has ensured that sustainability remains at the heart of our strategy and that we continue to take the practical steps needed to integrate sustainability into our business processes. Through his efforts, we have strengthened relationships across the industry to advance sustainability and safety," said Fields. "We are grateful for Robert's leadership, and we wish him the best in his retirement."
Pittel, currently executive director, Global Supplier Technical Assistance, will succeed Brown and serve as the company's top environment and safety officer. She will report to Fields.
In her new role, Pittel, 55, will be responsible for the continued development and implementation of the company's global environment and safety strategy, policy and performance, and Ford's Blueprint for Sustainability.
During her 29-year career at Ford, Pittel has served in a variety of positions in Manufacturing, Product Development, Quality and Purchasing. This broad experience will enable her to drive the company's sustainability commitment and actions even deeper in all areas of the business. Most recently, Pittel was responsible for establishing product launch and supplier quality processes to improve vehicle quality.
All retirements and appointments are effective Jan. 1, 2015.