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Ford names Anne Stevens as COO

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Ford Motor Co. is expected to name Anne Stevens COO of the Americas, industry sources say. Stevens, 56, a manufacturing expert, now is Ford's group vice president of Canada, Mexico and South America. She would become the top lieutenant to Mark Fields, who took over as president of the Americas last month. The appointment could be announced as early as Thursday, Oct. 13. Stevens will become the highest ranking woman in the history of the auto industry. It will be a new position in Ford's executive hierarchy. Sources say the thinking is that Stevens' manufacturing experience and knowledge of North America will complement Fields' strengths in sales and marketing. "Anne has done a wonderful job," said one insider with knowledge of the plan. "She has tremendous skill in manufacturing. She's a great leader." Fields, 44, a fast-rising executive, has spent much of his career overseas, most recently running Ford of Europe and the Premier Automotive Group. He previously headed Mazda. Fields must make some tough decisions. Plant closings and major job cuts are on the agenda in order to turn around North America, which posted a $907 million pretax loss in the second quarter. Stevens knows the plant network intimately. Before being appointed to her current position in October 2003, Stevens was responsible for all North American assembly plants. The pending promotion for Stevens is believed to have been the trigger that caused two high-level Ford executives to resign, sources said.

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flame me if you want, but women either ruined or redefined (depending on your point of view) the auto industry from a consumer tastes standpoint, so this may mean Ford will become more in line with who's really the decision maker behind most vehicle purchases today. The women. You know it guys, fess up. I see Ford going soft, fast, and not like they already aren't now. yeah, its a sexist viewpoint, I'd like to see them prove me wrong. Women were the instigators of the Camcord craze, then the big fat safe SUV craze, the 'jetta' craze....so maybe its beneficial to have a woman calling the shots now, I don't know. Ford needs all the help it can get. Edited by regfootball

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I agree that Ford needs all the help it can get. As with the track record of female executives in the autmotive industry, I cannot make a qualified response. I will say that the opposite sex, in my experience, is necessary in providing an additional way of thinking and operating. This equilibrium has worked very well from my point of view... Good luck to Ford, they need all the change they can get...for their sake Hazel and Mays should be next on the chopping block!

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