In his first round of major personnel moves as Ford CEO, Mark Fields has appointed Ford’s top engineer to lead Lincoln.
Fields today named Kumar Galhotra, Ford Motor Co.’s vice president of engineering since August 2013, as president of the Lincoln brand. Galhotra, 48, will report directly to Fields. This is the first time Lincoln has had its own president since the middle of the last decade when Lincoln was still part of the Lincoln-Mercury division and Al Giombetti was president from 2005 to 2007.
“Now is the right time for the next chapter in accelerating Lincoln as a world-class luxury brand,” Fields said in the statement. “Kumar has more than 25 years of global product and business experience, including leading engineering for all of our Lincoln vehicles today. Being our dedicated senior Lincoln leader will serve our clients, employees and dealers extremely well going forward.”
The move, effective Sept. 1, removes executive responsibility for Lincoln from Jim Farley, executive vice president of global sales, service and marketing, who has been the lead Lincoln executive since 2012. Ford said Farley will remain involved in Lincoln marketing. Farley has spearheaded Lincoln’s drive to excel in customer service and made that central to the brand.
Ford spokeswoman Susan Krusel said it was Farley who recommended to Ford’s board that Lincoln get a “totally dedicated leader.”
Fields, who assumed the CEO job July 1 with the retirement of Alan Mulally, also announced several other personnel changes in Ford’s product development organization, including the Oct. 1 retirement of Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer, after 32 years with the company. He is being succeeded by Lockheed executive Ken Washington, 53, who will take the job effective Aug. 18.
The appointment of Galhotra as president of Lincoln puts a veteran engineer and product executive in charge just as Lincoln is preparing to launch in China late this year.
Galhotra knows the Chinese and Asia Pacific markets well. He headed Ford’s Asia Pacific product development organization from 2009 to 2013 and spearheaded a product offensive that will lead to the introduction of about 50 new vehicles and powertrains in the region by the middle of this decade. One of those vehicles was the new Ranger global pickup.
Galhotra also headed program management and product planning worldwide for Mazda in Hiroshima from 2005 to 2008.
Lincoln’s U.S. sales have increased 16 percent this year but the brand still lags BMW, Mercedes and Lexus, as well as Cadillac, Audi and Infiniti.
Galhotra’s direct reports will include Matt VanDyke, head of Lincoln global marketing, and Scott Tobin, who directs product development at Lincoln.
VanDyke previously reported to Farley. Tobin will also continue to report to Raj Nair, Ford’s chief of global product development, Ford said today.
Jim Holland, 54, currently an engineering director for Ford Asia Pacific, will succeed Galhotra as vice president of vehicle component and system engineering, effective Sept. 1. In his new role, Holland will oversee vehicle component and system engineering for Ford and Lincoln vehicles globally. He will also report to Nair.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misstated Galhotra's age. He is 48.