When Joe Greenwell was named CEO of Jaguar-Land Rover in 2003, public affairs types everywhere took hope. A former member of their fraternity was running a car company.
The fortunes of Greenwell, 54, former public affairs chief at Jaguar and Ford of Europe, had risen with those of former boss Nick Scheele, now retired president of Ford Motor Co. and one-time head of Jaguar and Ford of Europe. Greenwell had run public affairs departments under Scheele in both Coventry and Cologne. He got a top North American marketing job after Scheele moved to Dearborn to help bail Ford out of trouble.
Greenwell's tenure as CEO of Jaguar-Land Rover ended last week when he was named to a newly created post: vice president of government affairs for Ford's Premier Automotive Group and Ford of Europe. He'll be replaced as Jaguar-Land Rover CEO by Geoff Polites, an affable Australian who now is head of marketing for Ford of Europe and used to run Ford of Australia.
When Greenwell took the Jaguar-Land Rover job, he walked into difficult circumstances that required all his public relations skills. He had the unenviable task of presiding over the closing of Jaguar's ancestral factory, Browns Lane in Coventry, England. He also had to head off a strike last year at Land Rover's antiquated Solihull plant.