The departure of James Schroer and George Murphy for the Chrysler group last week left Ford Motor Co. with a couple of important marketing jobs to fill. And it seemed to take Ford's brain trust by complete surprise because by week's end the No. 2 automaker had yet to name replacements.
The company quickly said that the departed execs will be replaced and that the search will focus on current employees.
Well-placed insiders said Brian Kelley, a Ford vice president and head of the automaker's e-commerce group, as well as COO of Ford Investment Enterprises Corp., was the early favorite to replace Schroer as vice president of global marketing.
Kelley joined Ford 1999. Before that he spent five years at General Electric, where he was vice president and general manager for sales and distribution with GE's Appliance Division. Before GE, Kelley was with Procter & Gamble for 14 years in various brand management positions.
Jan Klug, marketing communications manager at Ford Division, was mentioned as the leading candidate to replace Murphy as general marketing manager of Ford Division. In December, Klug was named Marketer of the Year by Automotive Marketer magazine, a monthly supplement to Automotive News. Klug drew praise for her unconventional approach to advertising for the Ford Focus.
Kelley and Klug are experienced execs who have retained the attitude of the young and hip, which puts them at the leading edge of marketing. Kelley's experience in Ford's e-commerce world is telling. And Klug's use of live ads was daring.
Replacing Schroer and Murphy is another opportunity for change at Ford.