Jim Farley, 50, is responsible for everything from reviewing the 2013 Ford Fusion launch campaign to overseeing parts distribution in Thailand. He also was just named senior global leader for the Lincoln brand, effective next month. Farley has used the expertise he honed building Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus and Scion brands to bring Lincoln back from the brink.
Farley's biggest impact has been his relentless drive to propel Ford to the forefront of social, digital and online marketing. His concept of prelaunch marketing, as epitomized by this year's Random Acts of Fusion and Escape Routes campaigns, is leading a change in the way automakers go to market. Thanks to Farley, Ford no longer launches a new car into dealerships with a flood of TV advertising, only to drop it a couple of months later and lateral the follow-up marketing to dealers. Now Ford builds online buzz well before the car arrives in showrooms, and spreads its marketing dollars -- and impact -- over more months.