Ford says Asia head to add China chief role

Updated: 2010-10-27 16:46
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Ford Motor said its top Asia executive, Joe Hinrichs, will assume the additional role as chairman and CEO of its China operations, effective Nov 1, replacing Robert Graziano, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Graziano will succeed Marin Burela as president and chief executive of Ford Australia and New Zealand, Ford said in a statement on Wednesday.

Burela, who had led the development of Ford's small car product portfolio, will assume the position of president of Ford's China car joint venture, replacing industry veteran Jeffrey Shen, who will retire at the end of the year.

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Ford makes Focus, Fiesta, Mondeo and other cars in China in partnership with Chongqing Changan Automobile Co and Mazda Motor. It also holds a 30 percent stake in Jiangling Motors Corp, a major Chinese light commercial vehicle maker.

In September 2009, Ford, a relative late-comer to China, broke ground on its third China car plant as it accelerated expansion in the world's largest auto market.

In the first nine months, Ford and its Chinese partners sold 419,073 vehicles in the country, up 40 percent from the year-ago period, outperforming a 36 percent rise in the overall market.

Hinrichs joined Ford in 2000 as a plant manager outside Detroit. He won recognition for his work in negotiating a series of landmark cost-cutting deals with the automaker's North American unions from 2007, just as the US auto market tipped toward a sharp decline. He is also seen as one of a handful of potential successors to Alan Mulally as Ford's CEO.

He assumed the role as president of Ford's Asia Pacific and Africa region in December 2009.