Ford announces management changes in Europe

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. on Monday announced management changes in Europe that will take effect starting next month.

Mark Ovenden, currently chairman and managing director of Ford of Britain, will take over as CEO of Ford’s joint venture in Russia, Ford Sollers, on July 1. Ovenden replaces Ted Cannis, who will become executive director of investor relations Aug. 1 and will be based at the automaker’s headquarters in Dearborn.

Andy Barratt, currently director of sales for Ford of Britain, will replace Ovenden as chairman and managing director of Ford of Britain July. Barratt’s replacement has not yet been announced.

“We are excited and fortunate to have talented and experienced leaders in Mark Ovenden and Andy Barratt, who will accelerate the progress we have made in Russia and the UK. Success in these markets is critical to creating a sustainably profitable and vibrant Ford business in Europe,” Jim Farley, chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe, said in a statement.

Ovenden was president and managing director of Ford of Russia from 2008 to 2011, according to Ford. He returned to Britain in 2011 as managing director of Ford of Britain, and was appointed to the dual role of chairman and managing director, Ford of Britain, in April 2013.

Barratt was appointed director of sales for Ford of Britain in July 2011 after serving as director of Ford customer service division of Ford of Britain. Before that, he led sales teams in the UK in the eastern and northern parts of the country.

The moves come as Ford works towards profitability in Europe and recommits its efforts in Russia amid political and economic turmoil there.

In April, Ford bought preferred shares and became the controlling partner in Ford Sollers, consolidating the outfit’s financial results into its own.

Ford has invested $100 million in a plant in Yelabuga, started building its Transit van and will spend an additional $274 million to build an engine plant there. In April, the company started making its Mondeo family sedan, bringing investment in its plant in St. Petersburg to $400 million since 2002.

Ford lost $185 million in Europe during the first quarter of 2015, a $9 million improvement from the same period a year ago.

Sales numbers have been strong, thanks to new models. April sales rose 7.2 percent compared to the same time last year, and Ford said it’s increasing its European vehicle sales forecast to between 15.2 million and 15.7 million vehicles for 2015, up from previous guidance of 14.8 million to 15.3.

Bloomberg News contributed.

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