The management shake-up at Ford Motor Co. continues to pick up momentum as the automaker announced the retirement of one of its top product gurus.
Ford said Thursday that Richard Parry-Jones, group vice president and chief technical officer, has elected to retire effective Dec. 31.
"In his more than 30 years at Ford Motor Company, Richard has made outstanding contributions to the development of our new products," said Ford Motor Company President and Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally. "Richard's feel for the customer and technical expertise has helped improve all of our brands, and his drive and determination have been a great inspiration to our engineers as we have accelerated the development of our new products that people really want and value.”
However, Mulally also made it plain that Ford had no plans to replace Parry-Jones, who has presided over a depleted product pipeline during his tenure as the company’s chief technical officer.
Parry-Jones’ responsibilities will be divided between Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of Global Product Development, and Gerhard Schmidt, 61, vice president, Research & Advanced Engineering, who will assume the role of chief technical officer in addition to his present duties, Mulally said.
During his long career with Ford, the 56-year-old Parry-Jones had developed a reputation for expertise in vehicle development — particularly in the area of driving dynamics and refinement. He also is highly regarded for his work on product safety and environmental initiatives.
Parry-Jones’ retirement follows the announcement that Ford had hired James Farley away from Toyota Motor Sales. Farley was hired to head up Ford’s marketing effort but he will also have a voice in the company’s product development process.
Mulally of late has shown signs of becoming increasingly impatient with the lack of new product in the company’s pipeline. A new study by J.D Power & Associates’ Automotive Forecasting Unit indicates that Ford will launch only five new or redesigned products in 2008, none in 2009 and only one in 2010. Nine, however, are expected to appear in 2011.
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