Speaking to reporters at the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association show here, O'Connor said he was sad to see Jacques Nasser leave the automaker.
“Jacques was a co-worker for 33 years,” O’Connor said. “You are always sad to see a co-worker leave."
O'Connor said the numerous quality problems and recalls Ford has experienced in the last three years are not a result of cost-cutting and outsourcing but a lack of focus on the fundamentals.
"We have to get back to the basics,’’ he said. “Our people have great processes. We just have to execute them."
O'Connor predicted that the 2003 Ford Escape HEV hybrid vehicle will help reinvigorate the Ford brand.