U.S.A.:Ford's path is familiar
Elena Ford is following the same career track that led her cousin to the chairmanship
By Mark Truby / The Detroit News
DEARBORN -- Elena Ford, the ambitious fifth-generation Ford family member, is following the path blazed by her more famous cousin, Bill Ford Jr.
Elena Ford is gaining experience at Ford Motor Co. through a rapid succession of jobs with her eye on a senior management position and eventually a spot on the company's board of directors.
On Thursday, the great-great-granddaughter of Henry Ford was named director of product marketing for the Ford division after an eight-month stint in Ford's international automotive operations.
Since joining the company in 1995, she has held more than 10 positions, with many of them in the marketing arena.
Bill Ford rotated through 18 positions from the time he joined the company in 1979 until he resigned in 1995 to concentrate on chairing the Ford board's finance committee. In late 2001, he was named chairman and CEO of Ford.
Elena Ford has said she aspires to become a director within the next few years, although she doesn't consider it a birthright.
"I just want to earn my way," she told The Detroit News earlier this year.
There are currently three Ford family members on the company's 14-member board: Bill Ford Jr., Bill Ford Sr. and Edsel Ford, Elena's uncle.
Elena Ford, daughter of Greek shipping magnate Stavos Niarchos and Charlotte Ford, will work closely with Ford dealers in her new position.
"She's extremely focused," said Bert Bachman, owner of Galpin Ford in Los Angeles and one of the nation's largest Ford dealerships.
"Having the Ford name is a benefit to her but she works hard to make sure she is a benefit to the company."
And as she did during a stint as Mercury's brand manager in 2001 and 2002, she will play a key role in molding Ford's future vehicle strategy.
"She will help make sure the Ford dealer showrooms of the future have the right products with the right attributes for our customers," Ford spokesman Jon Harmon said.
She is filling the position vacated by Marty Collins, who was named Ford division general marketing manager. He is replacing Francisco Codina, who recently was named vice president for Ford's customer service division.
New title: Director of product marketing for Ford division, effective Oct. 1.
Ford career highlights: Director of business strategy for Ford's international automotive operations; Mercury group marketing manager; brand strategy manager in Ford's marketing strategy and brand management group. Joined Ford in 1995 as truck brand communications coordinator.
Source: Ford Motor Co.
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.
My next Ford.....