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Shanks appointed to close gap at Ford

Ford has made its first move to bring its European carmaking operations closer to its luxury brands since putting them under a joint leader with the appointment of Bob Shanks as head of operations support, finance and strategy for both.

Ford's European business has been a serious cash drain on its Detroit HQ and the company hopes that further sharing of components and, potentially, manufacturing with Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo will help it return to profit.

In his new post Shanks' "overriding" responsibility will be to increase the sharing of best practices and cost savings between the two divisions.

Shanks was chief financial officer of Mazda, Ford's Japanese partner, when Fields was chief executive, and followed him to London when Fields took over PAG.

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