Ford Motor's president and chief operating officer, Jim Padilla, is stepping
down after 40 years at the automaker, the company said Thursday.
Jim Padilla, Ford
Motor Co. President and Chief Operating Officer, right, responds to a
question in Dearborn, Mich., Monday, Jan. 23, 2006. Bill Ford, Ford
Chairman and CEO is at left. Padilla is stepping down after 40 years at
the automaker, the company said Thursday, April 6, 2006. Padilla, 59, will
retire effective July 1, 2006 and also will leave his seat on the
company's board of directors. His responsibilities will be assumed by Ford
Chairman and CEO Bill Ford, who will lead a new executive committee
composed of the automaker's executive vice presidents.
Padilla, 59, will retire effective July 1 and will leave the company's board
of directors. His responsibilities will be assumed by Ford Motor Co. Chairman
and CEO Bill Ford, who will lead a new executive committee composed of the
automaker's executive vice presidents.
Padilla has been in his current position since April 2004. Before that, he
was executive vice president of the company and president of the Americas. He
has led manufacturing operations for Ford, Mercury and Lincoln in North and
South America and at Jaguar.
"The legacy of Jim's impassioned leadership will be his tireless pursuit of
excellence, his inspired championing of workplace diversity and the mentoring he
practiced that paved the way for so many of our senior executives leading Ford
today," Bill Ford said in a statement.
Among those Padilla mentored were Mark Fields, Ford's president of the
Americas, and Anne Stevens, chief operating officer of the Americas. Fields and
Stevens are leading the No. 2 U.S. automaker's North American turnaround plan,
which calls for 30,000 job cuts and 14 plant closures by 2012 in a bid to return
the automaker's North American division to profitability. The division lost $1.6
billion last year.
"We have the right team for the job at hand and it is time for me to allow
them to grow even further and transition into the new roles that await them,"
Padilla said. "It is because of these individuals, and the people they lead,
that I leave Ford with confidence in the company's future."
Under Ford's new management structure, Fields and Mark Schulz, president of
international operations, will begin reporting to Bill Ford. Bill Ford also will
lead an operating committee that consists of Fields, Stevens, Schulz, Ford of
Europe chief Lewis Booth and Chief Financial Officer Don Leclair.
Padilla joined Dearborn-based Ford in 1966 as a quality control engineer. He
accepted the first in a series of management positions in engineering and
manufacturing in 1976. He was manufacturing operations manager for two of Ford's
most popular vehicles, the Ford Escort and the Ford Taurus.
Known as a hands-on leader with a hard-nosed style, Padilla is largely
credited with fixing Jaguar's operations in the early 1990s, restructuring the
company's South American operations in the late 1990s and, more recently,
spearheading quality improvements. He also executed the company's 2002
restructuring, which cut 35,000 jobs, or 10 percent of Ford's work force.
Padilla was born in Detroit, one of 11 children of a Mexican-Irish family. He
earned bachelor's and master's degrees in chemical engineering and a master's in
economics from the University of Detroit Mercy.
Padilla was a White House fellow and served as a special assistant to the
U.S. secretary of commerce in 1978 and 1979. He currently is a member of the
manufacturing council at the U.S. Department of Commerce, a 13-member advisory
In 2004, Padilla received the Ohtli medal from Mexican President Vicente Fox.
The award recognizes Mexican citizens living outside the country who have worked
for the benefit of younger generations of Mexicans. Padilla, whose grandfather
immigrated from Mexico, became a naturalized Mexican citizen in 2003.