Blog: Dave LeggettWas Ford Europe's Leach a scapegoat?

Dave Leggett | 19 August 2003

David Leggett's back in Cornwall on holiday this week and, minding the shop, I came across a couple of stories in the latest Autocar magazine regarding Ford of Europe's president and COO Martin Leach who last week "elected to leave the company to pursue new opportunities", as the official line put it.

Autocar said close colleagues were shocked at Leach's departure after he offered to resign at a Dearborn meeting and his bosses did not say no. The magazine reckons Ford's latest European loss was not really Leach's fault as he'd only been in the top job for a year, though some of the good cars he brought to market when product development VP were delayed while others aren't making money. Autocar added that Leach gave Ford its most desirable modern European range in modern times and suggested that his rumoured moves either to head Fiat Auto or help run F1 racing don't hold much water.

Agreeing that Leach was a scapegoat, respected Autocar columnist Peter Robinson says it's ironic (a) that Ford Europe's best European line-up ever can't make a quid and (b) that the 6, developed when Leach headed Mazda R&D, will be the basis of a number of new American Ford models. Robinson also says Leach can't have done too bad a job seeing that Ford now says the Mazda-based models will bring reduced development and manufacturing costs.

It's tough at the top.

Graeme Roberts


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