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Parry-Jones strengthens senior team at Ford PAG

British executives have been appointed to senior Premier Automotive Group management positions as Ford looks to allay fears over the future of its premium group.

The latest round of internal restructuring, triggered by last month's ousting of chief executive Jac Nasser, comes as Ford seeks to overturn worldwide losses. Analysts believe the carmaker will be forced to close some plants and cut jobs.

Ford chief technical officer Richard Parry-Jones is transferring from the company's world headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, to London to oversee product development at the Premier Automotive Group. The appointment is an expansion of his existing responsibilities.

Designed as a powerhouse for Ford's premium brands, the group was the brainchild of Mr Nasser, who hired former BMW deputy chairman Wolfgang Reitzle to run the operation. Sir Nick Scheele, Ford's recently appointed chief operating officer, made a statement of faith in PAG, describing it as "a critically important part of our global portfolio and a major engine of growth for the future".

Bob Dover, co-ordinator of a joint Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover strategy organisation, is promoted to vice president of Jaguar and Land Rover while Volvo chief executive Hans-Olov Olsson assumes the same role with PAG's Swedish division.

PAG's other brand, Lincoln, has been targeted for major restructuring within the organisation. After purchasing Volvo for £4.5bn in 1999, Ford abandoned plans to introduce Lincoln's LS to Europe, sharing a platform with Jaguar's X-type.

Mr Parry-Jones, a Welshman credited with reviving driving dynamics in mainstream Ford models, will also take responsibility for Mazda, the Japanese affiliate. This follows the retirement of company veteran and former chief financial officer Henry Wallace. Mark Fields continues as Mazda president.

Carlos Mazzorin assumes Mr Wallace's other responsibilities with his appointment as Ford group vice-president for Asia-Pacific operations. Mr Mazzorin already overseas Ford's South American business and its global purchasing needs. David Thursfield, architect of Ford's re-organisation and improving balance sheet in Europe, is promoted to a Ford group vice-president.

Another Brit, Joe Greenwell, formerly head of communications at Ford of Europe, becomes vice-president for global automotive product and promotions. Mr Greenwell has been the public affairs 'shadow' for Sir Nick Scheele at Jaguar and Ford of Europe.

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