DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co.'s new COO Jim Farley is shaking up his North American leadership team amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
Kumar Galhotra, previously president of North America, will take on an expanded role as president, Americas and International Markets Group. Galhotra, 54, will have responsibility over most of Ford's global regions, including its profitable commercial business in the U.S. and Canada. He will continue to report to Farley.
Lisa Drake will add the new title of COO of North America to her role as vice president of global purchasing. Drake, 47, will report to Galhotra and "bring enhanced focus to product launches, warranty cost reduction and material cost improvements," Ford said in a statement. Those areas were weaknesses last year that led to a poor fourth-quarter financial report and dinged full-year profits. Drake was named a 2018 Automotive News Rising Star.
Ted Cannis, who previously led the Team Edison autonomous and electric vehicle unit that produced the Mustang Mach-E, was assigned a new position titled general manager, commercial vehicles, for the U.S. and Canada. Cannis, 53, will report to Galhotra.
A spokesman said Cannis will be replaced on Ford's Team Edison, although no details were immediately available.
Gil Gur Arie, a retired colonel from the Israeli Military Intelligence Corps, will join the company as chief, global data insight and analytics, reporting to Farley. In this position, Ford says, the 44-year-old will "lead the Ford team through the digital revolution and develop Ford's big-data and AI strategy in the coming years."
Ford has placed an increased value on AI, data and analytics in recent years, an area dominated by Israeli startups. Ford last year opened up a research center in Tel Aviv to tap into the talent base there.
In other moves, the automaker also beefed up the team surrounding Hau Thai-Tang, its chief product development and purchasing officer.
- Burt Jordan, formerly vice president of global vehicle purchasing, will become vice president of global purchasing operations. Jordan, 53, will be responsible for everything from program delivery to purchasing strategy and supply chain diversity.
- Stuart Taylor will take the new role of executive director, enterprise connectivity. Taylor, 48, also will report to Thai-Tang and lead Ford's push to implement what it calls a "suite of connectivity solutions." He was previously director, electrical & electronics systems engineering, according to his LinkedIn profile.
- Alex Purdy, a 36-year-old who formerly worked at John Deere, will join the company as director of business operations, digital experience and connectivity, reporting to Taylor.
All the changes are effective May 1.
"We are moving with a renewed sense of urgency to improve the fitness of the business and improve our launches, while at the same time modernizing Ford in a way that plays to our strengths," Farley said in the statement. "That means putting the right team of global leaders in place, streamlining the way we work, embracing the power of connectivity, data and AI, and turning our leadership in commercial vehicles into a dedicated growth business."
Ford shares fell 1.4 percent to close at $4.96 in New York.