Ford quality chief to retire as CEO seeks to boost reliability | Rare Techy


DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co . top quality executive retires as company continues to struggle with high warranty claims and reliability issues.

Stuart Rowley, head of transformation and quality, is leaving after 32 years with the company. He will be replaced by Jim Baumbick, who is now vice president of product development and internal combustion engine programs, the company announced Wednesday.

“Quality is our No. 1 priority as a company, and Jim Baumbick is the right leader to deliver world-class quality and reliability at Ford,” CEO Jim Farley said in a statement.

Farley has complained about problems with quality, warranty claims, recalls and new vehicle launches since he was appointed CEO two years ago.

At the company’s annual shareholder meeting in May, Farley said the problems are affecting Ford’s financial results but also causing pain for customers.

“We’ve made more progress in terms of our launch quality and our initial quality, that was seen in the research and in our production ramping up,” Farley said at the meeting. “However, we are not at all satisfied with our quality metrics, including recalls and customer satisfaction efforts, which we urgently need to accelerate. “

Solving the problems will require the new talent the company has, as well as a culture change and better processes for managing engineering, manufacturing and supply chain, he said. “This is very frustrating for our customers and that’s why we are doing everything we can to adapt them with the right policies to support them when they have problems. You can be sure that this management is fully committed to closing our gap with the competition. We will restore the company to the benchmark,” he said.

Ford’s statement said Josh Halliburton, hired in January from research and data analytics firm JD Power as chief quality officer, will report to Baumbick.

According to Ford, the move will combine design, engineering, manufacturing and supply chain quality improvement efforts.

Rowley will retire on Dec. 1 after more than three decades at the automaker, where he held several positions, including CEO of North America and president of Ford Europe.

The change is one of several management moves the company announced Wednesday.

Joy Falotico, president of Lincoln’s luxury brand, is retiring after 33 years with the company. He will be replaced by Dianne Craig, who is currently president of the International Markets Group.

Steven Armstrong, vice president of transformation for India and South America, is also retiring after 35 years at Ford.

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