Fords management swap comes as Europe still struggling to recover

Ford's management swap comes as Europe still struggling to recover

Ford has moved swiftly to quash suggestions this morning's news - broken exclusively by just-auto - that its global sales and marketing head Jim Farley and Ford of Europe chief Stephen Odell are to change jobs - is performance-related.

Speculation in Germany has apparently hinted at such a scenario but a reliable source within Ford insisted to just-auto today (7 November) the switch - due to kick-in from 1 January next year - was due to external market conditions.

"To set the record straight, the reason we have got this job change is not anything to do with the performance of Ford of Europe," the well-placed source said. "The issue we have is the external environment and with the market not improving as much as we thought it should.

"This [swap] has been on the cards for some time - we are always developing our senior guys. Stephen comes from a strong marketing background and career within Ford - Jim [it] gives him an opportunity to bring his talent to Europe.

"In Germany [they] put two and two together, saying they had a bad third quarter, it is not where the truth of the matter is."

The source dismissed suggestions either move was a demotion, maintaining both parties were "at the same level," with one undertaking a global marketing role for for the "entire scope" of what Ford does, while the other was on a more operational level.

"What is holding this business back is the external environment," added the Ford source. "Particularly with Russia with Q3, the way that is working out is costing us US$300m this year.

"In terms of getting back to profitability, we are projecting a loss because we have Russia and this increased pension cost issue because interest rates have not move [d] in Europe.

"The market is recovering in Europe, but not as fast as it should be."

Ford's European unit booked a third quarter pre-tax loss up US$257m year on year to US$439m.

For the full year, Ford continues to expect Europe to incur a loss of about US$1.2bn, an improvement compared with 2013.

See also: GERMANY: Ford Europe's Odell to move - report