Ford’s most senior European marketing chief and the man who organised the recent launch of the Focus, has quit after 18 years with the company.
Philippe Mellier, Ford’s European vice-president of marketing, sales and service, is understood to have returned to his native France and joined Renault.
Mellier started at Ford in 1980 as supervisor of sales planning and analysis and worked in Portugal, New Zealand and Mexico, be-fore becoming executive director of European sales operations.
In January, Mellier was promot-ed to the chief marketing post, and was recently named the Internat-ional Manager of the Year by the alumni association of the Euro pean School of Management in Paris.
He oversaw the launch of the new Ford Focus in Europe in October, which is the company’s replacement for the big selling Escort. The marque is its most important car in years. The company hopes it will stem a haemorrhage of profits from the European arm of Ford, totalling 165m in the third quarter of this year.
Mellier also stripped Ogilvy & Mather of its prize role as Ford’s lead agency across Europe in July, giving the 60m Focus launch and the 65m Fiesta and Ka accounts to Young & Rubicam.
Renault was unable to comment.