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Old 08-09-2002, 10:01   #1 (permalink)
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Ford chief rejects reshuffle rumours

Jeremy Grant in Traverse City, Michigan writing for the Financial Times reported that

Bill Ford, chairman and chief executive of Ford Motor Company, on Wednesday sought to damp speculation of further changes at the top of the world's second largest carmaker by saying he did not anticipate any further senior management moves.

His comments come weeks after Ford revealed it was six months behind on aspects of a $9bn restructuring plan and replaced the head of its Lincoln>Mercury division.

Ford has changed its chief executive, head of purchasing, head of premium brands and finance director - twice - in a year. Any further major upheaval would increase Wall Street concerns at "executive churn".

Mr Ford said: "There's been a lot of hallway talk and people wondering who's next. In terms of major management changes I don't anticipate any."

However, he added that there "are always changes that take place as part of the natural rhythm of a company".

Last month Ford admitted it was six months behind schedule in reducing material costs by $3bn by the middle of the decade. It warned that further cost-cutting - including job cuts - might be needed to get the restructuring plan on track.

The arrival last week of David Thursfield, former chairman of Ford Europe, in the US to head Ford's international operations and global purchasing, is expected to herald a more aggressive approach.

Ford's plan aims to generate $7bn in pre-tax profits by mid-decade. The company earned $570m in the second quarter, its first profit in four quarters, but it projects a small loss in the third quarter and a "modest profit" for the whole year.
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