DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. will eliminate as many as six senior executive positions between now and the end of the year.
The initiative, part of the struggling automaker's revised restructuring plan, began Thursday, Sept. 14, with the announced exits of Anne Stevens and Dave Szczupak, two key Ford manufacturing experts.
"We will reduce the number of officers at every level in the company," said Joe Laymon, Ford group vice president of corporate human resources and labor affairs, in an interview with Automotive News on Thursday, Sept. 14.
The reduction will include at least one executive exiting at each of the following levels: executive vice president, senior vice president, group vice president and vice president, Laymon said. The total officer reduction, including Stevens and Szczupak, will total no more than five or six, he said.
The departures of Stevens, executive vice president and COO of the Americas, and Szczupak, group vice president of manufacturing for the Americas, are effective Oct. 1. They will not be replaced, a Ford spokesman said.
Stevens, who has made no secret of her desire to be a CEO, is leaving the company voluntarily, Laymon said. She is expected to concentrate on finding a CEO job with another company in coming days. Ford has offered to assist Stevens in that search.
Thursday's announced departures will complete the officer reductions at the executive vice president and group vice president levels, Laymon said.
No other executive departures are expected this week, he said. The next phase is expected within 30 days with another one or two officers leaving.
As for the remaining officer levels, no more than one senior vice president position will be eliminated, Laymon said. He would not identify the person expected to leave.
Ford has four senior vice presidents: Tony Brown, purchasing chief; David Leitch, general counsel; Hans-Olov Olsson, chief marketing officer; and Darryl Hazel, head of the Ford Customer Service Division.
Although the retirement of Hazel, 58, has been rumored, he now is expected to stay for the time being.
Olsson, who will turn 65 in December, is a more likely candidate to leave. A year ago he was set to retire as CEO of Volvo when then-CEO Bill Ford asked him to stay on in a marketing strategy role.
Departures also are expected at Ford's vice president level. They could number more than one, Laymon said. He wouldn't name any vice presidents on tap to leave.
The latest round of officer cuts is on top of a reduction made during the first quarter of the year. The earlier cuts were made to fulfill Ford's pledge to reduce its officer ranks by 12 percent as part of the Way Forward restructuring plan announced Jan. 23.
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