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Farley’s Star Rising at Ford

Exec gains broad new power; further ascent all but certain.

by on Jul.17, 2009

Ford's global marketing chief, Jim Farley, now adds day-to-day responsibility for Canada, Mexico and Latin America to his portfolio.

Ford's global marketing chief, Jim Farley, now adds day-to-day responsibility for Canada, Mexico and Latin America to his portfolio.

A one-time Toyota executive with even deeper family ties to Detroit is watching his star rise at the Ford Motor Co.

Jim Farley, who returned to the Motor City, two years ago, to take on global marketing operations, at Ford, has now been given the added duties of overseeing day-to-day operations in Canada, Mexico and South America.  The announcement, which takes effect on September 1st, firmly entrenches the boyish-looking executive as one of Ford’s fastest-rising stars.

Observers say it also puts him more clearly in the running, long-term, to replace Ford’s Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally.  The other executive considered a possible successor, when Mulally eventually retires, is Mark Fields, Ford’s President of the Americas, to whom Farley will now report to.

“Jim has made great progress connecting with our customers and building a strong foundation for our success in North America,” said Mulally, in explanation of Farley’s new duties.

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At 45, Farley is part of a youthful management team that has aggressively attacked Ford’s long-running problems, a task made more difficult by the fact that it hasn’t had the cover of bankruptcy, like cross-town rivals General Motors and Chrysler, to order dramatic changes in the company’s operations and cost structure.  A key challenge for Farley has been to get the second-largest of the domestic makers taken seriously again, especially outside the Midwest.

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