Mike O'Malley, executive vice president and global business director at JWT, is also president of the agency's Detroit and Houston offices. He joined the agency in 2001 after 13 years at General Motors Corp.
Mr. O'Malley did not return calls by deadline. The agency declined comment. A Ford Division spokeswoman could not be reached by press time.
Ford is JWT Detroit's largest client.
Executives close to the agency said the changing of the guard wasn't due to Mr. O'Malley's abilities. His likely successor, they said, is Sean Neall, who worked at JWT on the Ford account for six years as senior vice president and executive manager before leaving the agency in 1996 to work for sibling Ogilvy & Mather in London.
While at JWT, Mr. Neall had worked closely with Stephen Lyons, then general marketing manager of the Ford Division. Mr. Lyons returned to the Ford Divison last spring as its president after a tour of duty in Spain, among other assignments, for Ford.