Ford Vice President Phil Martens will take over product development for Ford Motor Co. in North America, the automaker said Wednesday.
Chris Theodore, the current head of North American development, will assume a new position overseeing advanced product creation, Ford said.
The changes take place April 1.
Martens will report directly to Jim Padilla, Ford's head of North American operations. He had reported to Theodore.
Theodore will continue to report to Padilla, and on global product issues, to Richard Parry-Jones, Ford's product development chief.
Martens, 42, will oversee the design, engineering and development of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars and light trucks sold in North America. He also will be responsible for managing the product creation process in North America.
Theodore, 52, will be responsible for creating a design vision for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury products and brands, and also will lead product and feature development.
Theodore also will take charge of Ford's Performance Group, including SVT, and Ford's advanced product activities in North America.
Martens joined Ford in 1987. During his career with Ford, he was worked on vehicle development in the United States and Europe. In 1999, he joined Mazda, where he led the development of the Mazda6 sedan, hatchback and wagon, and the RX-8 sports car. He returned the United States in 2002 to help Ford improve its product development process in North America.
Theodore was hired by former Ford CEO Jacques Nasser in 1999. Before joining Ford, he worked for DaimlerChrysler AG, where he led the development of the second-generation Chrysler minivan, the Neon and PT Cruiser.
He has led development of the Ford GT, Ford Freestyle crossover wagon and Ford Five Hundred.
Ford in February announced a realignment of its North America product development organization into four platform groups that will be responsible for sets of similar vehicles. The automaker has said it will introduce more than 65 new Ford, Lincoln and Mercury products in the next five years.
The changed product creation process involves more flexible vehicle platforms and more commonality and standardization of components and processes.