Mark LaNeve named head of Ford US sales and marketing

Ford continues to rework the positions of its top marketing executives as Jim Farley moves to take over the Blue Oval in Europe and Stephen Odell becomes head of global sales. The latest shift brings Mark LaNeve in as the new vice president of US marketing, sales, service and dealer relations, effective February 1. LaNeve replaces John Felice, who is retiring. Felice was with the automaker for the last 30 years and held his most recent job since November of 2013.

In addition to coordinating marketing and sales, LaNeve's other duty is to build "innovative new digital communications and transforming the retail experience for customers," according to the automaker's press release announcing the change. He reports to both Odell and Joe Hinrichs, Ford's boss of the Americas.

LaNeve has a long history in the auto industry. He spent a portion of his early career with Cadillac but eventually was hired as the CEO of Volvo Cars North America. He also headed up US marketing at General Motors for several years in the 2000s. Since 2012, LaNeve has been the chief operating officer at Global Ford Team, which is responsible for the company's worldwide advertising.

There's an interesting challenge ahead of LaNeve in leading the Blue Oval's US marketing and sales in 2015. Ford was the bestselling auto brand here in 2014 but overall sales fell about 1.1 percent. According to Automotive News, the company's market share dropped to 14.9 percent, a one-percent reduction and the lowest level since 2008. Read below for the automaker's official announcement of LaNeve's new job.
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John Felice is retiring as vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service, after 30 years of service

Mark LaNeve, named vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service and elected a Ford Motor Company officer; former chief operating officer at Global Team Ford brings nearly three decades of automotive marketing and sales experience to Ford

Ford Motor Company [NYSE: F] announced today changes in its senior leadership team as it continues to deliver and accelerate the company's One Ford plan while driving for product excellence and innovation.

John Felice, vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service, has elected to retire after
30 years at Ford, effective Feb. 1, 2015. Succeeding Felice is Mark LaNeve, currently chief operating officer at Global Team Ford, the global advertising and marketing agency for Ford Motor Company.

LaNeve, 55, will report jointly to Joe Hinrichs, executive vice president and president of The Americas, and to Stephen Odell, executive vice president, Global Marketing, Sales and Service.

"John has had a long and successful career as a key leader serving us around the world for more than 30 years," said Hinrichs. "Among his many contributions, John led the Ford brand revitalization in the U.S., resulting in an unprecedented improvement in customer favorability, and was a strong advocate for our dealers, ensuring their participation in our business planning process and further strengthening our relationship with them. We thank John for his many years of service and wish him all the best going forward."

Felice joined Ford in April 1984. During his tenure, he served in a variety of management positions in the Marketing, Sales and Service organization in both the U.S. and Asia Pacific including leading U.S. Ford and Lincoln Sales, U.S. Ford and Lincoln Marketing, and Asia Pacific Marketing, Sales and Service. While in Asia, he also served as president of Ford Thailand.

In succeeding Felice, LaNeve will be responsible for all marketing, sales, service and dealer relations in the United States. He will be focused on continuing to grow the business by building the Ford brand with innovative new digital communications and transforming the retail experience for customers.

"We are excited to have Mark join our team as we introduce even more new products to our customers this year," said Odell. "With nearly three decades of proven experience to draw upon, Mark brings the right skills to continue building the Ford brand while creating a stronger retail experience for our customers, making it even easier for them to interact with their dealer and with Ford – and helping us profitably grow."

LaNeve comes to Ford after several years leading the company's global advertising and marketing agency, Global Team Ford, where he was chief operating officer, since August 2012. In this role, LaNeve led not only Team Detroit, which serves the Ford brand in the U.S., but also the agency's operations in London, São Paulo and Shanghai, as well as Hudson Rouge, the Lincoln agency in New York City.

LaNeve has nearly three decades of global sales and marketing experience in the automotive and insurance industries, having served in senior roles at Team Detroit, General Motors, Volvo Cars and Allstate Insurance. In these roles, he led the development and execution of innovative sales programs and the resurgence of the brands.

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