Move Follows Departure of Top Executive

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DETROIT ( -- Mazda North American Operations is rejiggering its management to more closely align its marketing and product development.

The Ford Motor Co.-controlled automaker is creating the new post of director of product strategy, to be announced later this month, and is resurrecting the title of marketing director.

The last person to hold the marketing

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director role was Kristen Simmons, who recently left to automaker to join computer marketer Gateway in the newly created post of senior vice president for consumer marketing. Ms. Simmons held the director's title until April 2001, when she was named vice president of marketing.

Eric Johnston, director of model-line marketing, will now become marketing director, and Robert T. Davis adds the title of senior vice president of marketing to his position of product development and strategy leader. He succeeds Ms. Simmons.

Mazda said the move will more closely link its marketing and product development operations and enhance its market presence.

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