Ford of Europe will have a new boss in 2015 with Jim Farley, one of the Blue Oval’s big hitters from the US, taking over the reins from Stephen Odell.
Meanwhile, Odell becomes executive vice president for global marketing, Farley’s old role. It’s essentially a job swap.
What’s the background to the job swap?
This is new Ford CEO Mark Fields’ first reshuffle since taking over from Alan Mulally, who retired in July 2014.
Farley won’t be short of things to do in his new job. Ford of Europe is having a tough time at the moment, suffering losses of $1.6bn in 2013 alone. Under attack from budget brands such as Kia and Hyundai reaching upwards as well as premium German brands stretching downwards, it’s under more pressure than ever.
His main aims will be to push the brand towards profitable growth with yet more new models, cut costs and build Ford’s image in Europe – no small task. In particular he’ll be concentrating on the Middle East and Africa, as well as mainland Europe.
And what does Stephen Odell’s new job involve?
He’ll have global responsibility across all of Ford’s brands for marketing. Ford’s statement today says Odell’s new role will involve ‘continuing to build the Ford and Lincoln brands globally through innovative new digital communications and transforming the retail experience for customers.’
Odell has a strong record in marketing. He was the man behind Mazda’s infectious – or highly irritating (delete as applicable) - ‘Zoom Zoom’ campaign some years ago, and was also president and CEO of Volvo between 2008 and 2010.
Over the past few years his job at the helm of Ford’s European arm has been more of an operational role, while Jim Farley’s job has been more marketing-focussed. Ford’s theory is that changing places will allow them to blend both skillsets.
The new positions will take effect from the start of 2015.
One important new model for Europe in the pipeline is the Ford Edge SUV – read all about it in our preview here.
Ford’s operational difficulties in Europe have also meant the new Mondeo has arrived to market a full three years later than the US version. We’ve driven it – find out if it was worth the waitin our new Ford Mondeo review here.