Mazda picks Ford man to oversee global marketing

Mazda Motor Corporation has appointed Robert Graziano, the president and chief executive of Ford in Southern Africa, to oversee global marketing for the brand.

Graziano will take over as vice-president with responsibility for marketing, sales, and research and development on September 1. He will report to Mazda’s global president and chief executive, Hisakazu Imaki.

Graziano replaces John Parker, who has been poached by Ford to become group vice-president of Asia, Pacific and Africa and will also join at the start of September.

Imaki says: “Graziano brings to Mazda experience in a wide range of areas and that is pertinent as we seek to grow our business in Asia and beyond. He will play a key role in driving Mazda towards a solid and sustainable future.”

Graziano’s appointment follows the promotion of Masahiro Moro to vice-president of marketing for Mazda Motor Europe earlier this year (MW June 29).

Moro took over from Steve Coates, who led Mazda’s European marketing operations for four years before leaving to join Ford-owned Land Rover as director of European operations.

Mazda has been under scrutiny recently over several advertising campaigns in the UK. In June, the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that a press ad for its MX-5 model was irresponsible as it promoted aggressive driving.

The ad showed an MX-5 against a blurred backdrop with the tagline/ “Please remove all loose change”. The ASA ruled that the key message was speed and ordered the company to amend the ad (MW June 22). Last year, a Mazda TV ad, featuring lingerie-clad mannequins in a car, was cleared by the ASA despite 425 complaints, making it one of the most complained about ads of 2005 (MW April 27).

Ford owns 35% of Mazda, which is a controlling stake under Japanese law.

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