Ford’s top management swapping comes with inherited challenges image

Ford recently decided to shake up top management by making senior executives Stephen Odell and Jim Farley trade places – and they also inherited each other’s challenges from the previous position.

Odell now has two months of serving as global marketing chief global marketing chief after previously heading the loss-making Ford of Europe division. He now faces another year of key product launches for the second-largest US automaker. For example, in the US the automaker last year lost market share – and not just because the new generation of the best-selling F-150 pickup truck was being rolled out. Farley, on the other hand, inherited a crippled European business, and while the overall market is finally gearing up for a much-anticipated recovery the operations are deeply hit by the situation in Russia – a market Ford invested heavily in after a forecast that it would rise to bring hefty profits.

Stephen Odell says this year is crucial in terms of launches, with the F-150 gearing up for production at its second output facility in Kansas City. The new Edge and Explorer SUVs are also scheduled for the year, with dealers needing months to get the necessary stocks and maybe missing a key segment growth period. The executive also believes the market share will rise once the product launches are well under way and the customers finally get the ordered purchase.

Farley believes the “headwinds” that made Ford push back the date on European profitability are mostly related to Russia. Here the automaker has been axing production as the overall economy slides into crisis and customers become prudent with their big-item purchases.

Via Automotive News