BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co <F.N> has appointed a new head of China operations to help turn around flagging sales in the world’s largest auto market, filling a post that had been vacant since January after the firm’s previous China chief suddenly quit.
Anning Chen, a former chairman of Chery Jaguar Land Rover in China and who also worked for Ford previously, will become the U.S. automaker’s new CEO from Nov. 1.
The move comes at a pivotal time for Ford which has seen China sales slide sharply this year. Sales in September tumbled 43 percent.
“Success in China is critical as we reposition our global business for long-term success,” Ford CEO Jim Hackett said in a statement.
Ford China will also become a stand-alone business unit, reporting directly to global headquarters. Chen will report to Jim Farley, president of global markets.
“As the largest vehicle market in the world, China commands its own leadership and focus,” said Farley, adding the reorganisation would increase the speed of decision-making and help the firm be closer to customers.
Chen’s predecessor Jason Luo resigned abruptly in January this year after leading the U.S. automaker’s China operations for roughly five months.
(Reporting by Yilei Sun, Norihiko Shirouzu and Adam Jourdan; Editing by Stephen Coates and Edwina Gibbs)