It’s been a day of announcements for Ford and its team: the automaker said today that its Group Vice President for Global Product Development and Chief Financial Officer will retire, and that former GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, Jr. will join the board of directors.
Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth, originally of Liverpool, England, has been working for Ford since 1978 and has bounced around many different brands and sub-organizations, including Mazda and the ill-fated Premier Automotive Group. Booth was tapped to become the CFO of Ford late in 2008, as the company feared disaster while the credit crunch hit the country. Interestingly, Booth is credited with green-lighting the gone-but-not-forgotten RX-8 sports car during his time as President and Chairman of Mazda, between 2002 and 2003.
He’ll retire as of April 1st of this year, at which point Bob Shanks, Ford Motor Company’s current Controller, will succeed him as CFO. Shanks has been on staff at Ford since 1977, and since then has been the Chief Financial Officer for both the Premier Automotive Group and Mazda.
Derrick Kuzak started at Ford in 1978, like Booth; since then, the Michigan native has worked on a wide variety of projects. Most recently, Kuzak is credited with implementing the One Ford product strategy that has since produced global cars such as the Kuga/Escape, Fusion/Mondeo, Focus, and Fiesta. Kuzak was also known for spearheading development of the original Escape sport-utility vehicle during his tenure as vehicle line director for SUVs, as well as his work with the European Ford focus during his time at Ford of Europe in the early 2000s.
Kuzak will also retire on April 1st, and will be succeeded by Raj Nair, currently the vice president of Engineering for the Global Product Development division. Nair has previously served in a number of positions, including VP of Operations for Ford’s Asia Pacific and Africa region.
Ford also announced Jon Huntsman, Jr., who is best known for his turn in politics, would be joining the Board of Directors. Huntsman was most recently a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, but suspended his campaign in January after losing in New Hampshire and South Carolinian primaries. Before that he served as United States Ambassador to China under President Obama, and did four years as governor of Utah. Ford hopes to put Huntsman to work consulting on trade issues with Asia.