Ford Europe picks head of strategy in bid to stem losses

Ford has appointed marketer John Hitcham to the new position of director of strategy as the company attempts to turn around its loss-making European operations.

Hitcham, who will report to Ford of Britain managing director Paul Thomas, has worked in a variety of marketing positions in Ford of Europe and Ford Global Marketing. His role will be to develop future marketing and distribution direction, complementing the work of Ford of Britain marketing director Peter Fleet.

Ford of Europe recorded losses of $525m (£327m) in the second quarter of this year, compared with losses of $18m (£11m) for the same period last year. The company is implementing a turnaround strategy, which Hitcham will be responsible for developing in the UK.

Ford’s poor performance has already led to the sudden departure of Ford of Europe president and chief operating officer Martin Leach this week. Ford says Leach “elected to pursue new opportunities”. His duties will be overseen by chairman David Thursfield until a replacement is found.

Ford has launched 35 products since 2000 to overhaul its range. Last month, it launched its Fusion model in the UK, supported by a campaign created by Ogilvy & Mather. The new model, Ford’s first compact MPV, will allow it to compete with the Vauxhall Zafira, Renault Scenic and Citroën Xsara Picasso.

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