4772 Ford's manufacturing chief among 3 execs to retire

Ford’s manufacturing chief among 3 execs to retire

Ford Motor Co.’s top manufacturing executive, the head of its International Markets Group and one of its top lobbyists in Washington have decided to retire, the automaker said Tuesday.

Gary Johnson, Ford’s head of manufacturing and labor affairs, will be succeeded Feb. 1 by North American manufacturing chief John Savona.

Mark Ovenden, president of the International Markets Group, also is retiring Feb. 1. His replacement will be FordDirect CEO Dianne Craig.

Curt Magleby, vice president of U.S. government relations, is retiring Dec. 31. A company spokesperson could not confirm whether a replacement had been selected.

Magleby has spent about nine years in his current role engaging with policymakers on various legislative and regulatory issues and overseeing the automaker’s federal, state and local government affairs. He reports to Mitch Bainwol, Ford’s chief government relations officer, who was formerly CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

Magleby, a longtime company executive, previously was director of U.S. state and local government relations at Ford. He also gained international experience at Ford while working at its manufacturing operations in Mexico, Malaysia and Singapore. He joined Ford in 1988 as a financial analyst for the automaker’s electronic division. Prior to joining the company, he worked for oil and gas giant Exxon Corp. as a petroleum engineer.

Savona, 52, a U.S. Army veteran who was hired in 1989 as a plant security guard, has led North American manufacturing since 2018. He will retain those duties in addition to overseeing labor affairs and all Ford assembly, stamping and powertrain plants globally after Johnson retires.

Johnson, 56, oversaw the negotiation of new contracts with the UAW and Canadian union Unifor in the past year. After the coronavirus pandemic began in the spring, he helped lead Project Apollo, Ford’s effort to produce ventilators, face masks and other personal protective equipment. Johnson started at Ford in 1986 as a paint shop supervisor.

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“Gary personifies our industrial strength and the concept of ‘Built Ford Proud,’ ” Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s president of the Americas and IMG, said in a statement. “He’s been central to expanding and modernizing our operations to produce high-quality vehicles, our exceptional partnership with the UAW, and this past year leading our people and production through the coronavirus pandemic.”

Craig, 56, has led FordDirect, a digital marketing joint venture with Ford and Lincoln dealers, for two years. She transformed that business with new go-to-market strategies and previously was CEO of Ford Canada. Craig will become a corporate officer and report to Lyle Watters, president of South America and IMG.

Ovenden, 56, has been with Ford for 35 years and last year led the formation of IMG, which covers nearly 100 markets around the world.

“Mark has been on the leading edge of expanding the worldwide reach and stature of the Blue Oval,” said Galhotra. “He has sharp understanding of and been a strong and constant advocate for customers in places that were newer for Ford.”

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