Ford’s Fields Makes Mark with New Appointments

CEO replaces Farley as head of Lincoln.

by on Jul.22, 2014

Kumar Galhotra is succeeding Jim Farley as President of Lincoln. Farley remains in charge of Ford's global marketing efforts.

Less than a month after taking over as Ford Motor Co.’s CEO, Mark Fields is making his first tweak to the company’s leadership team by replacing Jim Farley as the head of Lincoln with Kumar Galhotra, who had been vice president of engineering. The pair will report to Fields and the change is effective Sept. 1.

Farley, who came to Ford from Toyota with a reputation as a brilliant marketer and will remain in charge of global marketing, was charged with creating a new approach to customers for the company’s struggling luxury unit.

We're a Luxury You Can Afford!

However, as Lincoln rebuilds and expands it’s only natural that the brand has a dedicated leader, Ford officials said.

This change shows “we are serious about Lincoln as a world-class luxury brand and that product excellence and innovation are what will deliver growth and define our entire company going forward,” said Fields, who, following his appointment as CEO, emphasized he did not intend to tear up Ford’s leadership structure.

As Lincoln’s new boss, Galhotra will oversee the development of future Lincoln vehicles, well as marketing and sales.

Ford's Paul Mascarenas is retiring after 32 years with the automaker. He was a major force in many of the company's technological advances.

While it’s been the subject of much scrutiny in recent years, the brand may be on the upswing. Lincoln opened for business in China for the first time last spring and has launched a promising new product, the Lincoln MKC crossover, in the United States. Stephanie Brinley, senior analyst at IHS Automotive, thinks the move shows that Fields is serious about the success of Lincoln.

“Fields underscored the brand’s importance and signaled commitment to making it successful,” she said. “The step communicates not only the company’s commitment, but also Fields’ direct interest in its success. In selecting an internal candidate from the engineering ranks, Lincoln has a leader with authority and intimate knowledge of the company’s engineering resources and capabilities.

“It signals intent to put resources behind a future Lincoln that is not as simple as a dressed-up or parts-bin Ford dressed in Lincoln design cues, though the level of sharing is likely to always remain high. Galhotra’s experience in product development for Ford’s Asia Pacific region also signals how important the China market is to Lincoln’s long-term prospects.”

Lincoln’s U.S. sales dipped slightly in June, but were up 16% in the first half of this year. However, the brand still trails most of its competitors in the premium car segment: Mercedes-Benz outsells Lincoln by more than three to one in the United States.

Galhotra’s successor is Jim Holland, who was named vice president of vehicle component and systems engineering.

(High hopes and global ambitions for Lincoln MKC. For more, Click Here.)

Additionally, Ford hired Ken Washington, an executive from aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, to head its research operations, taking over for Paul Mascarenas, who is retiring after 32 years at Ford.

(Click Here for a look at TDB’s first drive in the Lincoln MKC.)

Washington, who reports to Raj Nair, is group vice president of global product development. He was vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Space Technology Advanced Research & Development Laboratories.

(To see more about Opel taking over GM Europe’s operations, Click Here.)

Mascarenas led Ford’s initial foray into Silicon Valley, opening a small research center to connect with inventors and entrepreneurs developing cutting-edge technologies, products and services.

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2 Responses to “Ford’s Fields Makes Mark with New Appointments”

  1. Tom Kelley says:

    Extra points for the crafty headline.

  2. Michael Strong says:

    Thanks! I’m not gonna lie: I was pretty pleased with that one.