As the company’s new chief executive officer, Mark Fields, takes more top decisions in a bid to further spur the development of top management, the automaker announced that its European chief and the marketing boss would switch places.
Stephen Odell, Ford’s regional head of loss-making European operations, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Jim Farley, global chief of marketing, sales and services are going to swap positions from January 1, 2015. In the move Farley, 52, is going to see his prowess tested in the first senior management role – taking his seven years of experience as marketing head to the EMEA unit. The role is not one to be treated lightly, as the operations there have been on the losing side for years as the European region has been hit by a six-year slump in demand after the latest financial crisis. The unit there hasn’t seen a profit since 2010 and the region itself is at a two-decade low when it comes to new car registrations.
Odell, 59, a 34-year Ford veteran is going to relocate to the company headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. He’s going to have some big challenges ahead too – before his new position switch, Farley also directed the transformation of Ford’s Lincoln luxury brand. The carmaker once dominated the premium segment together with the GM subsidiary Cadillac, but for the past two decades the Americans have succumbed to the attraction towards German luxury brands BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, along with Toyota’s Lexus.