DETROIT — Joy Falotico is going from CEO of Ford Motor Co.'s financing arm, where she's spent her entire 29-year career, to taking charge of the automaker's overall marketing strategy and Lincoln, a luxury brand in the throes of a revival effort.
An unusual leap? Maybe not.
"It is unique in our industry, and in a good way," said Jim Farley, Ford's president of global markets. "The transition will be extremely natural for Joy because she has very deep relationships with the dealers. She is also a fantastic, positive leader. She drives changes in the business and makes it a much healthier business."
Falotico takes over as Ford's chief marketing officer and group vice president for Lincoln on Thursday, March 1, for Kumar Galhotra, who was elevated to replace Raj Nair as president of North America. Nair was ousted last week for unspecified "inappropriate behavior," a stunning move by CEO Jim Hackett that prompted a parade of six executive promotions.
In Falotico's case, it was the dealer relationships, marketing expertise and leasing acumen she cultivated over nearly three decades with Ford Motor Credit Co. that stood out as Ford moved to quickly fill the void Nair's departure created.
Falotico, 50, rose quickly within Ford's credit arm, spending less than four years in each of six executive roles en route to the CEO's office. She has run the business since October 2016 and will remain chairman of its board of directors.
Until about six months ago, Falotico hadn't considered moving outside Ford Credit. "But as I had been working with the leadership team at Ford and Lincoln more closely," she said, "how we see the future and the transformation we are making at the company, not only on the automotive side but also with the mobility business, it seemed more like a natural opportunity to leverage some of the skills that I have in credit at the motor company."
Falotico spent six years in top marketing roles at Ford Credit, first as vice president of global marketing and later as head of marketing and sales for its Americas region.
"I also bring financial acumen," she said, "and that's another somewhat unique skill that I can bring to Lincoln and to the CMO role to help us make the right choices to be efficient and effective."