TOKYO -- The head of Ford Motor Co.'s operations in China has resigned less than five months after joining the U.S. automaker to jump-start its business in the world's biggest car market.
Jason Luo quit as chairman and CEO of Ford China for “personal reasons that predate his time at Ford,” Ford said in a press release on Monday. Luo's resignation is effective immediately.
Ford did not name a replacement but said Peter Fleet, group vice president and president of Ford Asia Pacific, will assume Luo's duties in the interim.
“Jason's decision was not related to the business strategy or performance of Ford China,” Fleet said in a statement. “Jason made valuable contributions in accelerating our electric vehicle strategy, exploring opportunities to provide future smart mobility solutions for customers in China, and identifying ways to become more operationally fit.”
Luo took the helm at Ford China on Sept. 1. Just prior he was CEO of Key Safety Systems Inc. but left as the U.S. supplier was finalizing its $1.59 billion deal to buy the embattled Japanese airbag maker Takata Corp. At the time of Luo's departure from Key Safety Systems, the supplier said personal family matters in China that required his attention had triggered the move to Ford.
Luo had led Key Safety Systems since 2007.
Luo's personal touch was credited with clinching the Takata deal, which catapulted Key Safety Systems to a top position in the global market for seat belts and other safety equipment.
Key Safety Systems is owned by Chinese parts maker Ningbo Joyson Electronics.
Luo's resignation leaves Ford China leaderless as it struggles to boost sales in the nation's cooling market.
Ford's overall sales declined 6 percent to 1.19 million vehicles in 2017, even as overall demand in China increased 3 percent and Detroit rival General Motors posted a 4.4 percent gain.
Ford is positioning China at the center of a global EV push and has been trying to revive its Lincoln luxury brand by tapping the market's massive hunger for luxury cars.