Ford announces senior leadership team changes

Ford Motor Company announced a series of changes in its senior leadership team as it continues to deliver the company’s One Ford plan for profitable growth.

David Leitch, general counsel and group vice president of Ford Motor Company, has elected to retire after more than 10 years at Ford. While at Ford, Leitch, 54, has led the company’s litigation, tax, corporate and intellectual property efforts, the company said. He also has advised the company’s board of directors and senior management on a range of legal issues and oversees the General Auditor’s Office.

“David has been a great partner and has cultivated an award-winning legal team for Ford,” said Mark Fields, president and chief executive officer. “David and his team also have embraced Ford’s commitment to making people’s lives better through their pro bono work and active community service.”

Succeeding Leitch will be Bradley Gayton, 52, who is named general counsel and vice president of Ford Motor Company and elected a Ford Motor Company officer. Gayton currently serves as corporate secretary and assistant general counsel, a position he has held since April 2012. He will report to Fields.

Ford of Europe

Jeff Wood, vice president, manufacturing, Ford of Europe, also has elected to retire after more than 30 years at Ford, the company announced. In his current role since June 2012, Wood, 55, has been responsible for all of the company’s manufacturing operations in Europe. Before joining Ford of Europe, Wood was director of manufacturing for North America Vehicle Assembly Operations.

“During his career at Ford, Jeff has made significant contributions to our manufacturing efficiencies in both the U.S. and Europe, resulting in strong quality gains and progress on our European transformation plan,” said Fields. “He also has played a key role in our truck assembly operations and delivering Ford customers with the best-selling pickups in the world.”

Succeeding Wood will be Linda Cash, 53, who is elected a Ford Motor Company officer and named vice president, Manufacturing, Ford of Europe. She will report to Barb Samardzich, vice president and chief operating officer, Ford of Europe. Cash currently is director, vehicle operations, Ford of Europe, a position she has held since March 2015.

Asia Pacific

In Ford Asia Pacific, Peter Fleet is elected a Ford Motor Company officer and named vice president, marketing, sales and service, Asia Pacific, reporting to Dave Schoch, Ford Motor Company group vice president and president, Asia Pacific. His appointment is effective Dec. 1, 2015. Fleet, 48, currently serves as vice president, sales, Ford of Europe, a position he has held since August 2012. Fleet’s replacement will be the subject of a future announcement.

At the same time, Gary Johnson, 51, currently vice president, manufacturing, Asia Pacific, will repatriate to the U.S. and lead a special assignment related to Global Manufacturing Planning. He will report to John Fleming, executive vice president, Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs. In his current role, Johnson has been leading our manufacturing growth in Asia Pacific, including launching 10 new plants in the region in the last three years.

Succeeding Gary Johnson is Bill Russo, 61, who is named vice president, manufacturing, Asia Pacific, and elected a Ford Motor Company officer. In his new role, Russo will report to Schoch. He currently serves as director, global powertrain manufacturing engineering, a position he has held since September 2010.

All retirements and appointments are effective Jan. 1, 2016 unless otherwise noted.

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