Lincoln marketing chief to leave brand for Ford Europe

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

The top marketing executive for Lincoln Motor Co. — who helped launch the popular Matthew McConaughey ad campaign — will move to become vice president of marketing for Ford of Europe, according to an employee memo issued Monday and obtained by The Detroit News.

Matt VanDyke, the director of marketing, sales and service for Lincoln, who has led Lincoln’s global marketing efforts since 2012, replaces Gaetano Thorel in Europe. Thorel will leave the company effective, July 31, the memo said.

Robert Parker, president of Lincoln China, will replace VanDyke.

The moves were first reported by Automotive News.

VanDyke took over as Lincoln’s top marketing executive in 2012, when he re-named the brand The Lincoln Motor Co. to help set it apart from Ford. He also helped launch Lincoln in China when it first opened showrooms there in November 2014. The brand plans to have 60 dealerships in 50 cities by the end of 2016.

He also helped sign celebrity Matthew McConaughey to a two-year deal to pitch Lincoln vehicles, which have garnered national attention and spawned parodies from multiple comedians.

Lincoln has sold 44,488 U.S. vehicles through May, up nearly 15 percent compared to the same time a year ago.

Separately on Monday, Ford announced changes to its leadership team in China. John Lawler, vice president and chairman and chief executive officer, Ford China, will take over as vice president and controller, Ford Motor Co., succeeding Stuart Rowley.

Lawler will be replaced in China by David Schoch.

Marin Burela, president of Changan Ford, will retire Oct. 1 and be replaced by Nigel Harris, currently president and managing director of Ford India.

Burela’s and Harris’ appointments are effective July 1. All other moves are effective immediately, Ford said.

“As our growth plans in China have developed, this market is delivering an increasingly important portion of our revenue and profits globally,” Fields said in a statement. “Elevating the reporting of this business right now reflects China’s importance in our profitable growth plan going forward.”

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