Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn Tuesday announced it is reorganizing its Asia Pacific operations. As part of the changes, Ford China is elevated to a stand-alone business unit reporting to Ford global headquarters.
Anning Chan, an experienced auto executive with a long track record in China, is rejoining Ford to become president and CEO of Ford China, a new position with the unit’s new status.
Peter Fleet, president of Ford Asia Pacific, will facilitate the transition of Chen into his new position. Fleet will also oversee the establishment of a new International Markets business unit, which will initially be comprised on Ford’s existing Asia Pacific businesses outside of China and other markets globally.
“Success in China is critical as we reposition our global business for long-term success,” says Jim Hackett, president and CEO of Ford. “With today’s actions, we are strengthening our commitment to the China market and reorganizing our international markets to strengthen their performance.”
The changes are designed to accelerate Ford’s return to profitable growth in China, the world’s largest vehicle market and a key pillar of Ford’s global strategy. The creation of the business unit will allow for greater focus on the market, faster decision making, and increased Chinese leadership within the company.
“China is absolutely essential to Ford’s profitability and growth,” says Jim Farley, president of global markets at Ford. “As the largest vehicle market in the world, China commands its own leadership and focus. As we transition China to a stand-alone business unit, led by an experienced and talented Chinese business leader, we are able to become more fit as a business, increase our decision-making speed, and be closer to our customers.”
Chen returns to Ford effective Nov. 1. In previous positions, he has led transformation, established alliances and joint ventures, and developed products. He will lead the company’s operations in greater China, including all import and joint venture operations. Prior to this position, Chen served as CEO of Chery Automobile Ltd., and chairman of Chery Jaguar Land Rover, Automotive, China.
In creating an International Markets business unit, Ford seeks to capitalize on emerging markets opportunities, reduce bureaucracy, have the right cost structure, and improve operational fitness.
“As we continue to reposition our China business for future growth with new products, partnerships, and people, it has become increasingly clear that the brightest future for Ford would be unlocked by making Ford China a dedicated business unit reporting directly to Ford global headquarters,” says Fleet.
Ford China has committed to launching 50 new vehicles by 2025 and is in the midst of high-volume launches of the Ford Territory, Ford Focus, and Ford Escort.
Ford has also announced plans to increase local production for Ford and Lincoln, invest in China-led engineering and research and development, create a new single sales and service channel, create a new joint venture with Zotye for a new line of small battery-electric vehicles, and form strategic alliances with Baidu and Alibaba to explore areas of cooperation in artificial intelligence, connectivity, and digital marketing.
“To perform at the highest level in an ever-changing world and win, we must be fit, agile, nimble, and flexible,” says Farley. “With Peter architecting a new international organization and Anning’s broad industry experience and strong relationships in China, we have the right leaders to elevate our business and bring us closer to our employees, partners, dealers, and customers.”