Sun, Nov 09, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Ford replaces European head amid ongoing losses

AP, MILAN

US automaker Ford Motor Co on Friday replaced its European boss amid widening regional losses and two years into a turnaround plan aimed at returning the division to profitability.

Ford global marketing executive vice president Jim Farley is scheduled to take over as head of European operations, based in Cologne, Germany, switching roles with outgoing European chief executive, Stephen Odell, who was named to the marketing job, the automaker said in a statement.

Ford has failed to turn a pretax profit in Europe since 2010, the year in which Odell took over as the region plunged into a recession that provoked the area’s biggest car market contraction ever.

The carmaker is forecasting a US$1.2 billion loss in Europe for this year, following widening third-quarter losses, and no longer is predicting a return to profit next year.

“Ford is struggling in Europe, but I don’t think that struggle is unique to Ford,” IHS Automotive senior analyst Stephanie Brinley said.

She said the change in roles seems to be aimed at redeploying the experienced executives, not dissatisfaction with Odell’s performance.

Ford has closed three plants and launched an ambitious schedule of product launches two years ago in a bid to return to profit and revive slumping sales.

Ford’s sales in Europe rose 7.3 percent over the first nine months of the year, outpacing the market.

“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,” chief executive officer Mark Fields said in a statement.

Farley, 52, is set to be charged with leading Ford’s turnaround in Europe, which includes a series of new product launches and cost cutting, Ford said.

Farley took over the marketing role in 2007, and previously spent a decade at the Lexus luxury division of Toyota Motor Corp.

Odell, 59, with 34 years of experience within Ford, is credited as instrumental in the turnarounds at Volvo Cars, where he was chief executive officer for two years, and at Mazda Motor Corp, where he was head of marketing and sales.

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