Ford Reshuffles Senior Management

By Agence France-Presse Ford Motor Co. chairman and chief executive Bill Ford announced a reshuffle of senior executive ranks April 22, but stressed the automaker was sticking with its winning strategy. Ford followed up Tuesday's stunning first-quarter results with the news that one of the architects of the auto giant's turnaround plan is stepping down as chief operating officer. Nick Scheele, 60, will remain in a "leadership position," and as a member of the board, but relinquishes day-to-day control of global automotive operations, effective immediately. Jim Padilla, 57, who was responsible for the company's North and South American operations, moves into the COO slot. Scheele "has got to the point where he feels comfortable in handing off to Jim," Ford told reporters, citing the company's nine consecutive quarters of better-than-expected results. The chairman of Ford Europe, David Thursfield, will retire May 1, but will continue to consult for the company. Ford Europe COO Lewis Booth, 55, takes over at the helm of the troubled division, assuming the jobs of the division's chief executive and chairman. He will report to Mark Fields, 43, the head of Ford's PAG or luxury brands group, who adds the title of Ford Europe executive vice president to his portfolio. In Asia, the company tapped Mark Schulz to be president of Asia, with additional responsibility for Africa. The 51-year-old was formerly group vice president Asia Pacific. "Don't expect us to change course or see any radical new direction," Bill Ford told reporters in a press conference at company headquarters in Dearborn. "We are not bringing in anybody from outside, these are Ford people with proven track records. "This management change today is all about constancy of purpose. This is not a shake-up by any means . . . it's really a fine-tuning." Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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