Mr. LaNeve will lead the strategy and overall operations for the Ford and Lincoln businesses globally.
"Much has been accomplished over the past year in restructuring and building our business; the time is right to bring in a new operational leader who will help take us to the next level," said Satish Korde, CEO of Global Team Ford, to whom Mr. LaNeve will report. "Mark is not only a great industry veteran, he's a seasoned marketing and automotive executive with a strong background in retail, luxury and also the service industry, bringing a diverse amount of operational experience to this role."
"Mark's joining the WPP team adds a whole new dimension to our global capability," said WPP Chief Executive Martin Sorrell. "The great partnership which we enjoy with Ford will be strengthened even further."
Mr. LaNeve began his career at GM, serving as brand manager for the Pontiac Bonneville and working for Cadillac. He left in 1997 to become VP-marketing and later CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, then owned by Ford. He returned in 2001 as general manager of Cadillac and became GM North America VP-marketing and advertising in 2004.
He left GM months after the automaker declared bankruptcy in 2009 and became chief marketing officer for Allstate Corp. in Northbrook, Ill., where he oversaw the insurance company's breakthrough "Mayhem" advertising. Mr. LaNeve resigned from Allstate in February, citing personal reasons.
"Ford is an iconic brand with outstanding leadership, great products and an even better future," he said in a statement. "With several options for returning to the industry I love, returning home to Detroit to be part of the Ford team through WPP was simply an opportunity I couldn't pass up."