By putting more European product-development authority in European hands, Ford's latest global reorganization likely will lead to more Europe-specific products for European customers.
The restructuring gives Ford of Europe boss Nick Scheele more autonomy and the final say on product development decisions in Europe. It also gives Europe its own product development boss: Ford and Mazda veteran Martin Leach.
The decentralizing steps return some of the power to Ford of Europe and to Ford's other geographical regions that was lost under former chairman Alexander Trotman's Ford 2000 reorganization.
In spite of numerous changes undertaken since Jac Nasser took the reigns as CEO from Trotman at the beginning of this year, Ford officials continue to insist they are not retreating from Ford 2000 but rather fine-tuning it.
Under the new structure, Scheele, now Ford of Europe president, will become chairman. Dave Thursfield, former vice president of vehicle operations in Dearborn, becomes president and vice president and will move to Cologne, Germany. Scheele will be responsible for strategic issues, while Thursfield will run Ford of Europe day to day.
Leach, now Mazda vice president of product planning and design, will succeed William Boddie as Ford of Europe's top product-development executive.
Unlike Boddie, whose title is vice president of the small- and medium-car vehicle center, Leach's title will be vice president of product development at Ford of Europe. Boddie has reported to Richard Parry-Jones, group vice president of product development, Ford Automotive Operations.
In contrast, Leach will report directly to Scheele. Leach also still reports to Parry-Jones.
Boddie is returning to the United States to become vice president of global core engineering.
The changes take effect Jan. 1.