The moves come as General Motors Corp., the first proponent of brand management among the automakers, has been hit with its first brand manager defection.
Ford Division quietly reassigned Randy Stewart from youthful brand manager to manager of portfolio brand strategy. That's a new post to implement a global brand strategy operating process, an insider said. He's been replaced by Brian Miller, formerly the division's Chicago regional manager.
At Ford's Lincoln-Mercury Division, National Ad Manager Dale Jones has been told he'll have a new job soon.
"We're not talking about his new position," said a Lincoln-Mercury spokesman, who declined to reveal Mr. Jones' successor or why he was being moved. Lincoln-Mercury in March got a new general manager, Jim O'Connor.
Chrysler, with the industry's leanest staff, is making the most personnel changes.
28 CHANGES IN AUGUST
In recent months, Chrysler has shuffled its top marketing executives from one brand to another. At least 28 changes in midlevel marketing positions were announced internally in late August, including Christine MacKenzie from corporate ad manager to manager of business planning and strategies, under Steve Torok.
Mr. Torok was reassigned in March from Chrysler-Plymouth general manager to executive director, sales and marketing operations. Ms. MacKenzie has been replaced by Charlie Hudson.
Also moved was Ken Laurence, from Chrysler-Plymouth national ad manager to manager of Dodge dealer advertising associations.
A company spokeswoman downplayed the significance of the job changes.
"The [division's] general managers want to make sure their people are fresh and get them charged up with new ideas," said a company spokeswoman.
Several Detroit media reps said the changes in brand managers have caused some delays in media-buying decisions.
At GM, Robert Baird, the Cadillac Seville and Eldorado brand manager, is leaving after seven months to take a job at Samsonite Corp. His wife, Lisa Baird, is brand manager for the Pontiac Grand Am.
"She's planning on staying with GM," said Mr. Baird, who will commute to his new job as VP-general manager at Denver-based Samsonite. Dick Nicolosi, Mr. Baird's mentor while at Scott Paper Co. and Procter & Gamble Co., is now Samsonite CEO and recruited him.
Julie Hamp, product publicity manager at Cadillac, said the division is looking inside and outside for his replacement.
Separately, GM is beefing up its corporate ad staff. It's looking to hire someone for the newly created job of North American Operations director of advertising operations. That person will act as a "creative concierge" reporting to Philip Guarascio, VP-marketing and advertising at North American Operations, said a GM insider.