Armstrong will speed Volvo ties with Ford

Swedish brand appoints its first COO

Volvo’s appointment of Steven Armstrong as its first chief operating officer will help streamline its relations with parent Ford Motor Co.

Armstrong, 42, has been the Swedish carmaker’s purchasing chief for four years.

“We need to work on speed of execution and develop our relationship with Ford,” said Volvo CEO Fredrik Arp at the Geneva show, explaining the appointment of Armstrong.

“When it’s neutral to the brand we need to get the benefits from Ford. To deliver that requires some skills and we need somebody to support that.”

Armstrong will be in charge of all Volvo’s industrial operations from product development to manufacturing. He will report to Arp.

Armstrong said: “My remit is to ensure that the whole industrial system operates as one cohesive unit.”

Quality and launch executions will be a particular priority, he said.

Albie van Buel will succeed Armstrong as Volvo’s senior vice president of purchasing.

Van Buel, 46, a native of the Netherlands, has been purchasing manager for interiors at Volvo, director of power train and raw materials purchasing and director of commodity purchasing for all Ford European operations.

The appointments will be critical as Volvo becomes integrated in Ford’s Aligned Business Framework, which aims to reduce the number of its suppliers and build better relationships with those remaining.

Armstrong and van Buel have long experience with both Ford and Volvo.

In other executive changes at Volvo, Hans Folkesson, 55, senior vice president of research and development, will take early retirement at the end of the year.

Magnus Jonsson, the 49-year-old executive director of International Operations at Ford of Europe, will replace Folkesson as head of r&d at Volvo.

Armstrong is pictured with the new Volvo S80, which shares technologies with Ford models.

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