Two of the biggest names in Ford Motor Co. have swap jobs, as part of the latest bid of chief executive Mark Fields to further expand the fortunes of the carmaker not only in Europe but also globally. Jim Farley is taking over Stephen Odell’s job as Ford of Europe’s top honcho. On the other hand, Odell is taking over Farley’s post as Ford’s global sales and marketing chief.
Sources told Automotive News that swap had been in the works for a couple of months. The swap comes also at a time when Ford of Europe is nearing a return to profit thanks to Odell, and when the US carmaker is experiencing record sales in a number of aspects thanks to Farley. This means that Farley will have his first opportunity to be in charge of one of the carmaker’s major business units.
This will be his first stint in Europe since 1990s at Toyota. He was once considered a successor to then-outgoing CEO Alan Mulally but his lack of high-level operational experience was regarded as a weakness.
Odell, meanwhile, will be filling a global role for Ford at a time when its operations in South America are experiencing slump no thanks to a current economic crisis as well as when the auto market in both China and North America are slowing down.
A person with direct knowledge of the thinking behind the switch told Automotive News that the move was not a result or an offshoot of any dissatisfaction that CEO had with Odell and Farley’s works.
The source added that the swap also had nothing to do with the expectation that either would have to "tear up" the plans of their predecessor.
The source also said that Farley wanted to expand his operational experience while Odell boasts of a significant marketing background and is not reluctant to hold office back in the United States.