Troubled carmaker MG Rover has announced the appointment of Daniel Ward as communications director with immediate effect. MG Rover says the decision to appoint a communications professional with long experience of the motor industry represents a significant strengthening of the company’s PR function.
Industry observers will no doubt conclude that Ward has his work cut out and will need every ounce of his industry and PR experience garnered at Ford and Nissan Europe. The news comes as MG Rover is facing a wave of renewed speculation about its viability and very survival as its sales continue to slide. Ward will also have to contend with the ongoing media barrage and investigations into the sometimes controversial actions of MG Rover’s ‘Phoenix four’ shareholders.
It emerged this week that MG Rover’s sales in the UK in September were around 35% off last year’s level and that market share in Britain has fallen to under 3%. The main handicap is an ageing model line-up and a desperate need for a new mid-sized model to replace the 45. The 25 and 45 models both have ancestral links to a Civic platform introduced when Austin Rover had a technology link-up with Honda in the early 1990s.
Ward’s appointment is part of an extensive review of the company’s communications department, which will be restructured to include internal communications, product and corporate affairs, government affairs, global product communications, international communications and UK product PR. All these functions will report to Daniel Ward who is also responsible for all communications relating to Phoenix Venture Holdings. He will report directly to Kevin Howe, chief executive MG Rover and PVH.
Previously Ward held positions as executive director communications Ford of Britain and vice president communications Nissan Europe. His career in journalism included motor industry correspondent on The Times and technical editor of Motor magazine.
“We have needed to strengthen our communications team for some time but we wanted someone proven and capable of handling all aspects of communications from internal through to new products,” said Kevin Howe, “and Daniel’s record underlines we have found the right person.”
“Two great British marques and the chance to head an international team represent exciting challenges for me and I am delighted to be joining MG Rover,” said Daniel Ward.