Woman behind 'No Boundaries,' SUV ad campaigns joins Young & Rubicam Brands
By Ed Garsten / The Detroit News
DEARBORN — The marketing executive behind some of Ford Motor Co.’s most important ad campaigns in recent years is leaving the automaker April 1 to become an officer at a leading advertising agency.
Jan Valentic, vice president of global marketing at Ford since 2001, will become an executive vice president at Young & Rubicam Brands. She will be responsible for the agency’s Microsoft Corp. account.
The New York agency also represents Ford’s Lincoln-Mercury, Jaguar and Land Rover brand advertising accounts.
With Valentic’s departure, Ford’s global marketing organization will be realigned under Jim O’Connor, group vice president of North America marketing, sales and service. Ford, which has been criticized by some Wall Street analysts for having too many senior executives and vice president positions, said it will eliminate Valentic’s post.
“This is a great opportunity for Jan and for our friends at Young & Rubicam,” O’Connor said in a prepared statement.
Valentic’s departure comes as Ford readies to restock its U.S. passenger vehicle lineup with the launch of crucial new models, namely the Ford Freestyle crossover, and Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego sedans. The company is also launching the all-new F-150 pickup and will offer a gasoline-electric hybrid version of the Ford Escape SUV later this year.
Sales of Ford’s U.S. brands are off 4.6 percent this year.
Valentic, 43, led the marketing launch of the Ford Focus, the “No Boundaries” campaign for Ford’s sport utility vehicles and the Ford Escape. She also led Ford’s focus on regional marketing and helped build stronger ties with the automaker’s dealer advertising groups.
A Chicago native, Valentic joined Ford in 1998 as marketing communications manager after rising to senior vice president at Leo Burnett USA Advertising in her hometown.
Under Ford’s realigned marketing organization, executives Mike Lombardi, Michelle Guswiler and Darrell Bryja will report to O’Connor, according to spokeswoman Paige Johnson.
Lombardi’s responsibilities include customer and dealer services and e-business. Guswiler will head Ford’s market research organization. Global auto show strategy will be led by Bryja.
Ford marketing officials Laura Fraga and Ann Kaless will report to Lombardi.