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US:Another Ford exec departs

Another Ford exec departs

Marketing chief Collins joins retailer Group 1 in the automaker's latest senior-level departure.

Bryce G. Hoffman / The Detroit News

Ford has seen an exodus of top talent since early 2005, including:
Earl Hesterberg, former vice president of North American marketing and sales
Steve Lyons, former Ford division vice president
Greg Smith, former president of Ford North America
Anne Stevens, chief operating officer of Americas division
Phil Martens, group vice president for product creation
Steve Hamp, Bill Ford's former chief of staff

DEARBORN -- Marketing executive Martin Collins has left Ford Motor Co. to join the auto dealer chain Group 1 Automotive Inc., becoming the latest in a series of high-level executives to leave the automaker.

Collins, 43, was executive director of marketing for the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands. He was a major force behind Ford's "Bold Moves" marketing campaign, as well as the just-launched "Lincoln Dreams" campaign.

A number of other senior executives have left Ford since Chairman Bill Ford Jr. in September hired Boeing Co. executive Alan Mulally to replace him as chief executive officer and lead a corporate turnaround.

They include Anne Stevens, former chief operating officer of Ford's Americas group, and Steve Hamp, who was Bill Ford's chief of staff.

Ford has offered buyout packages to 85 percent of its white-collar employees and hopes to eliminate 10,000 salaried jobs over the next year.

"Separations -- voluntary or otherwise -- are likely to be part of the process as we work to reduce our operating costs," said Ford spokesman Oscar Suris, who confirmed Collins' departure.

"The company is confident in its bench strength. There will still be a great number of great people at this company with considerable experience in the automobile business."

While Suris would not say who will replace Collins, likely candidates include John Felice, Ford brand general marketing manager, and Michael Richards, general marketing manager for Lincoln Mercury.

"Companies that are going through the transition that Ford is undertaking will often have significant numbers of their management teams depart," said Chuck Moore, managing director of Conway, MacKenzie & Dunleavy, a restructuring firm based in Birmingham.

"Although you can use a lot of institutional knowledge (it) is often good to have outsiders with a fresh perspective come in. Often times that can help you achieve the goals even quicker."

Group 1 confirmed that it has hired Collins as its southeast regional vice president. He will oversee the company's dealerships in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Collins joined the company in 1985 and had held a variety of positions in field operations, franchising, product development, strategy and marketing.

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.....
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