Top Ford Motor Co. execs are thinking about appointing a "Euro czar" to prod money-losing Ford of Europe to work more closely with the company's Premier Automotive Group. Something must be done quickly, but Ford probably doesn't need a new level of bureaucracy to accomplish what its existing management team already should be doing.
In fact, the job likely would be filled by one of the same executives who now run Ford of Europe, PAG and International Operations.
The candidates to run Ford in Europe are David Thursfield, head of International Operations; Martin Leach, president of Ford of Europe; and Mark Fields, CEO of PAG. Thursfield, who kept the title of chairman of Ford of Europe after moving to Dearborn last year, once again is spending most of his time in Europe. And as international chief, he already is responsible for achieving the kinds of purchasing and parts-saving synergies the two business units need.
The company must make PAG and Ford of Europe cooperate without a new executive stratum, complete with staff and bureaucratic baggage. Volvo people already are unhappy about being pushed into the Ford bureaucracy. And some Jaguar people still seethe about what the X-Type, which is based on the Ford Mondeo, did to the brand.
The "Euro czar" concept sounds dangerously like Ford 2000, the flawed attempt in the 1990s to centralize the company's global business. Ford of Europe is a regional operation. Ford 2000, which was conceived by CEO Alex Trotman, was unwound by CEO Jacques Nasser, who created PAG as a group of global brands based in Europe.
Since the departures of Nasser and Wolfgang Reitzle, who had a strong, almost autonomous vision for PAG, the group has foundered. It is neither autonomous nor fully integrated.
That must be fixed in order to realize the group's potential. Someone has to call the shots. But it's not clear that another reorganization is the answer.