At Ford, A Daughter Also Rises

At Ford, a daughter also rises.

Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday that Elena Ford is assuming a new post as director of global marketing, sales and service. In the newly created position, Ms. Ford, will coordinate those functions aspecially as they relate to Ford’s coming lineup of global vehicles such as Focus, Fiesta and Fusion/Mondeo.

She reports to James Farley, group vice president of marketing and communications. Elena Ford, the grand-daughter of Henry Ford II, has been winding her way through an assortment of U.S. and international jobs at the automaker much like her cousin, William Clay Ford Jr., did before becoming chairman and then CEO.

Bill Ford relinquished the CEO position in 2006, but remains executive chairman of the board. He is the great grandson of Henry Ford. His father, William C. Ford Sr. is the brother of the late Henry Ford II.

She most recently held an executive vice president post at Ford Motor Credit, but she has also held marketing, product planning and strategy posts at the automobile division. She started working for Ford in 1995.

Ford, under CEO Alan Mulally, has been streamlining the company worldwide to lower costs and make the company more efficient. The new Ford Focus launching in 2010, for example, will be the same cars worldwide with minor changes adopted to suit each world region. That is a departure from the past strategy, which had one car sold as the Focus in the U,S. and a different vehicle sold as the Focus in Europe.

But Ford is also looking to streamline the marketing of the vehicles worldwide. Ad agency company WPP has appointed a global creative director for the car. And Ford will look to deliver the same messages and images in each world-market, combining everything from film production to printing. “The strategy will save Ford tens of million of dollars, which is money we can put into media getting the message out rather than spending it making the message,” said Farley. “This is a much different and smarter way of doing things at Ford,” said Ms. Ford.

Farley said that making the new system work depends on having someone in the job who can work with every operating region of the world and who has relationships to get the work done right. “Elena certainly has those strengths,” he said.

She replaces Ford director of global marketing Anne Belec who left the company this month after 24 years.

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