Ad Agency Relationships to Remain Unchanged

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A correction has been made in this story. See below for details.

DETROIT ( -- Ford Motor Co. will combine the North American marketing and sales operations of its Ford Division with its Lincoln Mercury arm. The automaker, whose North American operations have dragged down corporate profits this year, announced the changes will be effective this fall with new model launches.

The Ford and Lincoln Mercury consolidation reduces the number of sales regions for the brands from 17 each to a combined 11.
Ford reported last month that its North American auto operations lost nearly $1 billion in the second quarter, although the automaker still managed to earn $946 million for the period.

Layoffs planned
“There will be some involuntary separations” from the company, said a Ford spokeswoman, who added the current sales and marketing operations now employ 3,500 people in the U.S. Still undetermined, she said, is who and how many staffers will be moved from national marketing jobs into the field.

Ford is adding marketing staff to its existing field operations of sales experts who call on dealers. The automaker reduced the number of its 34 sales regions -- Ford’s 17 regions plus Lincoln Mercury’s 17 -- to 11. The automaker will soon announce who will head each of the 11 regions. The spokeswoman said it will take a couple of months to sort out.

“We’re going to reach customers in smarter, more focused ways than ever before while being extremely efficient with resources,” Steve Lyons, group vice president of marketing, sales and service in North America, said in a prepared statement.

The changes will be invisible to customers, the spokeswoman said. Having one person heading marketing for all three brands “will help differentiate the brands from a messaging level,” she stated.

Executive changes
Darryl Hazel, president of Ford Division, was promoted to corporate vice president of marketing in North America for the three brands, while Al Giombetti, president of Lincoln Mercury, advanced to vice president of sales in North America.

Martin Collins will remain general marketing manager of the Ford Division, where he'll also oversee golf sponsorship programs and cause marketing. All those areas had reported to the marketing communications' managers, which are being eliminated, a spokeswoman said

Tom Brewer will become general markting manager at Lincoln Mercury; he had been director of marketing, sales and service for Ford in South America, a spokeswoman for Ford said.

The two incumbents, Mary Lou Quesnell at Ford Division, and John Fitzpatrick at Lincoln Mercury, are being moved to new director positions at the automaker. Ms. Quesnell will be director of global marketing services, with duties that include oversight of auto shows. Mr. Fitzpatrick becomes a director of worldwide direct operations, working with agencies like WPP Group's Wunderman.

Ad agencies
WPP shops handle the three Ford brands in the U.S.: JWT, Detroit, has Ford Division, while Y&R, Dearborn, handles Lincoln and Mercury. Ogilvy & Mather, Dearborn, is Ford’s corporate shop. The three agencies plan to all be located in Dearborn in the next year or two.

The spokeswoman said each brand’s current roster will stay the same.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported Martin Collins was named general marketing manager for Lincoln Mercury as well as Ford. Lincoln Mercury duties were assigned to Tom Brewer.

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