DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. executive Steve Biegun is quitting as vice president of international government affairs to return to Washington, his old stomping ground, where he will be Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's special envoy for North Korea.
The automaker last week also said that its vice president of manufacturing and labor affairs, Bruce Hettle, will retire on Oct. 1. His successor — who will be the chief negotiator during next year's contract talks with the UAW — is Gary Johnson, currently Ford's vice president for North America manufacturing.
Biegun was appointed by Pompeo on Thursday, Aug. 23, to manage negotiations with South Korea over dismantling its nuclear weapons program, and the two plan to travel to Pyongyang this week.
He is the second veteran lobbyist in Washington to leave the automaker. Chief lobbyist Ziad Ojakli exited last month to join Japan's SoftBank Group Corp. and Biegun took over his position. After managing the automaker's international governmental relations for 14 years, Biegun will depart by the end of August.
Curt Magleby, 59, vice president of U.S. government relations, will direct Ford's lobbying efforts on an interim basis and Michael Sheridan, 55, director of global trade strategy and policy, will lead Ford's international government affairs, reporting to Magleby.
Since joining the company in 1988 as a financial analyst for Ford's electronics division, Magleby has worked in numerous capacities around the globe ranging from production superintendent in Mexico to director of ASEAN affairs in Singapore.
Hettle, who has worked in Ford's manufacturing operations for 32 years, took charge of the automaker's global manufacturing footprint and labor affairs in January 2016. He oversaw the launch of the redesigned Super Duty pickups in 2016 and Ford's redesigned full-size SUVs last year.
Johnson, 54, will manage the global operations of 67 plants and oversee engineering for stamping, vehicle and powertrain manufacturing.
Replacements for Johnson and Sheridan will be announced at a future date, Ford told Automotive News.
Biegun, before joining Ford, worked in the White House from 2001 to 2003 as executive secretary of the National Security Council. After that, he was national security adviser to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee.
Bloomberg contributed to this report.