Ford Revamps Senior Management Team

April 21, 2004 by Jeff Shepard

Ford Motor Co. (Dearborn, MI) has revamped its senior management team, naming Jim Padilla, the current head of its operations in the Americas, as Chief Operating Officer. The shakeup, and effective demotion of Ford's outgoing COO Nick Scheele, comes just one day after Ford said its first-quarter profit more than doubled due to cost cuts and a surprisingly strong gain in its automotive business.

Chief Executive Bill Ford Jr. appears to give Padilla, who also gets a new title as chairman of automotive operations, most of the credit for the change of fortune. "Jim Padilla is all about results," Bill Ford said. "That shows in what he's accomplished in the past couple of years. The company has made a swing of nearly $6 billion in profitability in the past two years, and much of that can be attributed to improved quality, greater customer loyalty and reduced costs in North America."

Scheele, 60, will stay on as president of Ford. In his new role, after overseeing the restructuring program Ford launched in 2002, he will be responsible for global product creation and information technology. Ford also announced that David Thursfield, president of international operations and global purchasing, was retiring effective May 1. Thursfield will become a consultant to Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. and the company.

Ford also named Mark Fields as executive vice president, Ford of Europe and the luxury vehicle brands known as the Premier Automotive Group. Lewis Booth will become chairman and chief executive officer of Ford of Europe, and will report to Fields. Ford also named Greg Smith, the current head of its finance arm, executive vice president and president of the Americas region.