Automotive News reports

that Ford will name Anne Stevens as chief operating officer of the Americas. Stevens will report directly to Mark Fields, who became president of the Americas last month.

Stevens, who has been named three times to Fortune magazine's list of "The 50 Most Powerful Women in Business," will become the highest ranking woman in the history of the auto industry.

Currently group VP for Canada, Mexico and South America, Stevens previously was vice president North American Vehicle Operations, responsible for the operations of 21 assembly plants and 8 stamping and tool and die plants. Her manufacturing expertise and her familiarity with the Ford plant network make it likely that Stevens will play a key role in the job cuts and plant closings expected to be part of Ford North America's turnaround strategy.

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