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Old 01-08-2006, 05:57   #1 (permalink)
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US:Ford plans leadership changes

Ford plans leadership changes

Sales and marketing chief's retirement leads to shifts before carmaker launches turnaround.

Bryce Hoffman / The Detroit News

DEARBORN -- Ford Motor Co. is preparing a new round of management changes triggered by the impending retirement of Steve Lyons, the automaker's group vice president of North American marketing, sales and service, according to people familiar with the situation.

Lyons, 57, plans to retire in March after a 34-year career at Ford. He is in negotiations with the automaker to become a Ford dealer after he leaves the company, the people said.

His successor is likely to be Francisco Codina, currently a vice president in charge of Ford's customer service division, the people said.

The moves are expected to be announced later this month and are pending approval by Ford's Board of Directors.

Ford President and Chief Operating Officer Jim Padilla has no plans to leave the company in the near future, contrary to a recent report in The Economist magazine, the people said.

Ford spokesman Oscar Suris declined to comment.

The expected departure of Lyons, a fiery sales executive who has a solid rapport with Ford dealers, comes at a precarious time for the automaker. After losing money and market share in North America last year, the company is preparing to launch a turnaround plan on Jan. 23 that will include plant closings, job cuts and new product plans.

A key objective of Ford's turnaround plan is to stop U.S. market share losses.

Now that job would fall on Codina, 54, a native of Cuba who immigrated to the United States with his family in 1965. He joined Ford in 1977 and has steadily worked his way up Ford's management ladder.

As part of the reorganization of the company's sales and marketing management team, Darryl Hazel, Ford's vice president of marketing, is expected to return to his former assignment as vice president of customer service division -- the position Codina is expected to vacate. Hazel, 58, was widely regarded as a success in that position.

Al Giombetti, currently president of the Lincoln-Mercury division, would become vice president of sales and marketing under Codina.

Two new management positions, which would be executive director-level jobs -- would be created under the 56-year-old Giombetti, one in charge of the Ford brand, the other in charge of Lincoln and Mercury.

Lyons is expected to spend much of February touring the country with Codina to say good-bye to dealers and ensure an orderly transition.

Lyons, a New York native, has a home in Naples, Fla., and has been considering retiring for the last year or so, the people familiar with the situation said.
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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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