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Ford's new chief of staff

Ford Motor Co. has named Jim Vella – currently its vice president of public relations – as its new chief of staff.

Vella, 47, will assume some of the duties held by John Rintamaki, who announced his retirement earlier this year after 30 years with the company.

The new title formalizes Vella's longtime role as one of Bill Ford's top advisers.

"Jim will ensure alignment between my office and the operations of the business as well as assisting me in maintaining a consistency in managing external developments affecting the company's business," Bill Ford wrote in an e-mail last week to executives.

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