Consolidates European Car Group

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DETROIT ( -- Ford Motor Co. shuffled some of its top executives while also parking one of its brands into a different car group.

Ford announced today that Wolfgang Reitzle, a group vice president, will leave May 1 as chairman of Ford's Premier Automotive Group, or PAG. He becomes chief executive of German engineering firm Linde AG.

Mark Fields, who has been president-CEO of Japan's Mazda Motor Corp. since late 1999, will take over for Mr. Reitzle on July 1. Ford holds a controlling interest in Mazda.

Ford also restructured its luxury brands, removing Lincoln Mercury from PAG and adding it to its new North American Consumer Business Group. PAG now covers all of the automaker's European-based brands: Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and Astin Martin.

Jim O'Connor, meanwhile, was promoted to group vice president in the new post of North American marketing, sales and service. He was previously corporate vice president and president of Ford Division. Kathleen Ligocki, 45, moves to the new post of vice president of North American marketing. She was vice president of business strategy for Canada and Mexico.

Brian Kelley continues as president of Lincoln Mercury. Jan Valentic, vice president of global marketing, now reports to Ms. Ligocki.

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