Ford announces new CEO for China, several restructuring moves

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Anning Chen returns to Ford as CEO and President of Ford China. Photo credit: FORD

UPDATED: 23/10/18 09:57 ET – add details

Ford Motor Co. has appointed a new head of its Chinese operations to help turn sales into the world's largest car market and fill a vacancy when the previous Chinese head abruptly resigned in January.

The American car manufacturer said on Tuesday evening in a statement that Anning Chen, a former Ford CEO with 25 years of industrial experience, would become CEO and President of Ford China. The move takes effect on 1 November.

Ford China would also be elevated to a single business unit, reporting directly to Jim Farley, president of the world markets.

Chen was previously CEO of China & # 39; s Chery Automobile Ltd. and was chairman at Chery Jaguar Land Rover, Automotive, China, according to the statement.

Ford has also announced:

    Plans to increase local production for Ford and Lincoln;
    Details about major investments in China-led engineering and R & D;
    The creation of a new single sales and service channel;
    A new joint venture with Zotye for a new line of small battery-electric vehicles;
    A strategic alliance with Baidu and Alibaba to explore collaboration areas in the fields of AI, connectivity and digital marketing.

The movements are coming at a crucial time for Ford, which saw the sale of China sharply this year. Turnover in September fell by 43 percent.

"Success in China is crucial if we are repositioning our global operations for long-term success," Ford chief executive Jim Hackett said in a statement.

Farley added: "China is the largest car market in the world and has its own leadership and focus." He said the reorganization would increase the speed of decision-making and help the company get closer to customers.

Chen's predecessor, Jason Luo, abruptly dropped out in January of this year after leading the operations of the US car manufacturer for about five months.

Reuters and Automotive News employees contributed to this report.