Ford Motor Co. is putting the sales and promotion of its new vehicles in the hands of Suzy Deering, a former eBaby executive with broad experience in online sales, as new CEO Jim Farley continues to shake up the company’s executive ranks.
Deering will join Ford as global chief marketing officer on Jan. 4, following five-plus years as worldwide and North America CMO at eBay, according to an announcement by the company. She takes over for Joy Falotico, who also runs the company’s Lincoln luxury brand and retains that responsibility. This move was announced when Farley took over Oct. 1, but the company didn’t announce then that Deering was joining the company.
“We’re putting more decision-making in the hands of our people who are closest to customers,” said Kumar Galhotra, president, Ford Americas and International Markets Group, to whom Deering will report.
“That makes marketing more important than ever and Suzy’s world-class background will be vital to modernizing our approach, dialing-up our understanding of customer ambitions and redefining our brands to help us grow,” Galhotra said.
Deering will be the global leader for modernizing marketing, driving brand strategy and best practices, and developing marketing talent, he added. Additionally, she will run all marketing operations in North America, which accounts for more than 70% of Ford’s automotive revenue, including customer intelligence and product and consumer marketing, Galhotra said.
“Technology will be a powerful part of Ford’s transformation and how we enhance and release the huge value of our iconic brands,” said Deering said in a statement. “My team will be involved from end-to-end on behalf of customers — better connecting with them, using data to foresee and deliver what they need, and earning and keeping their trust.”
No longer responsible for the company’s marketing efforts, Falotico will now dedicate her time to her role as president of the Lincoln Motor Co., which is a growing and strategically important luxury vehicle brand, Ford’s announcement said. Falotico held both jobs for the past three years.
Ford also announced the retirement of Linda Cash, effective Jan. 1, ending 36 years with the company, the last three as vice president, Quality and New Model Launch Program.
Chris Brewer will assume Cash’s responsibilities for quality as executive director, Quality. The company earlier announced that Ron Johnson will take on product launch responsibilities. Both Brewer and Johnson will report to Lisa Drake, chief operating officer for North America.
Brewer, who has been with Ford since 1986, was most recently director, Vehicle Programs, for Trucks and SUVs. He has extensive experience leading product development programs, including for an all-new Transit commercial van for North America and Europe while based in Dunton, U.K.
Botched launches, most recently the new Explorer at the Chicago Assembly Plant, led to the abrupt resignation of Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford’s Automotive Operations back in February.
Farley, who took over as CEO Oct.1, told analysts last month that improving the quality of Ford’s products is critical. “Our warranty (costs) in the last few years … (are) up $1 billion to $2 billion depending on the year and that is not okay,” said Farley, adding reducing warranty costs is critical to rebuilding the company’s business and profits.
Farley also told analysts the emphasis on curbing warranty costs is particularly important as the company begins to ramp up production of the new Ford F-150, the Ford Bronco and the all-electric Mach E. “These are fantastic opportunities for us on the top line for the next many years to come,” said Farley, and boost its North American profit margin above 10 percent.