COLOGNE, Germany– Ford today announced Ken Macfarlane, vice president of Manufacturing, Ford of Europe, and a corporate officer of Ford Motor Company, has elected to retire effective Jan. 1, 2012, after a 39-year career with the company.
MacFarlane will be succeeded by Mike Flewitt, who is currently director of Vehicle Operations, Manufacturing, Ford of Europe. With the move, Ford also announced a series of related personnel changes to support the company’s product-led growth plans globally.
Macfarlane, 61, has played a leading role on several of Ford’s most important vehicle launches and manufacturing initiatives, helping Ford reach new levels of quality and productivity in North America and Europe.
“Ken has always set the highest standards for himself and for his teams, and his leadership and passion for manufacturing over the past four decades have been truly exemplary,” said John Fleming, executive vice president, Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs. “Ken led some of the company’s most important launches and manufacturing initiatives, and consistently delivered success no matter the challenges.”
Macfarlane was appointed vice president, Manufacturing, Ford of Europe in December 2008. Earlier this year, he led the development of a plan to realign Ford’s manufacturing footprint in Europe over the next few years to support a product-led growth strategy. He also played a leading role in the formation this year of a new joint venture in Russia with Sollers OSJC and the ongoing transformation of Ford’s new manufacturing facility in Romania.
“Ken’s has been a strong leader and strategic asset for Ford of Europe and his contributions to our growth plan will pay off for years to come,” said Stephen Odell, chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe.
Before joining Ford of Europe, Macfarlane was director of Truck Manufacturing Operations for Ford in North America, with the responsibility for manufacturing, launch and quality of the best-selling F-Series pickups and other models. Prior to that, he held key positions in engineering, quality and manufacturing, including overseeing plants in North America, Asia Pacific and more recently in Europe.
“Manufacturing cars and trucks is one of the toughest and most rewarding businesses anywhere,” Macfarlane said, “and I feel fortunate and proud to have served at a world-class company for nearly 40 years in a career dedicated to improving safety, quality and productivity at Ford plants around the world.”
Flewitt, 49, will take over as vice president, Manufacturing, Ford of Europe, on Jan. 1, 2012, and he also will become a corporate officer of Ford Motor Company. Before he assumed his current role as director, Vehicle Operations, Ford of Europe, Flewitt served as general manager of Ford Otosan, Ford’s joint venture in Turkey.
“We’re fortunate to have an executive with Mike’s deep knowledge and experience to succeed Ken as our manufacturing leader in Europe,” Fleming said.
Added Odell: “Mike’s leadership will be invaluable as we work to fully leverage our manufacturing footprint to thrive and grow in Western and Eastern Europe.”
Ford today also announced several other manufacturing executive appointments, including:
- Dale Wishnousky, plant manager, Kansas City Assembly, is appointed director, Vehicle Operations, Ford of Europe succeeding Flewitt
- Felix Guillen, director of Manufacturing Operations and Product Development, Ford of Mexico, is appointed executive director of Manufacturing and Ford Production System, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa
- Jose Islas, director of manufacturing, Vehicle Assembly Operations, is appointed, director of Manufacturing, Ford of Mexico, succeeding Guillen
- Guy Martens, site operations manager, Genk (Belgium) Assembly Plant, is appointed director of manufacturing, Vehicle Assembly Operations, succeeding Islas
- Kevin Gideon, director of manufacturing, ACH, is appointed plant manager, Kansas City (USA) Assembly, succeeding Wishnousky
- Philippe Verbeeck, manager, Stamping, Ford of Europe is succeeding Guy Martens as Site Operations Manager Genk