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Ford restructures global PR amid market pressure

DEARBORN, MI - Faced with continued bad press and falling stock prices, Ford Motor Company has reorganised and downsized its worldwide communications staffs, which had been in flux for several months.

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When CEO Jac Nasser was ousted last October, then vice-president of communications Jason Vines also departed, replaced by two PR vice-presidents, Joe Greenwell for products and Jim Vella for corporate communications.

This was simplified as of August 1, when Greenwell became vice-president of North American marketing and Vella became Ford's sole PR chief as vice-president of public affairs.

In turn, Vella reorganized his staff with his late-August appointment of Jim Bright as executive director, Ford automotive operations public affairs, with six direct reports encompassing marketing and manufacturing activities in the Americas, Asia, and South Africa.

Vella has reinstalled a traditional pyramidal organization with just five direct reports. They are Jim Bright; Ron Iori, director of global operations public affairs; Francine Romine, manager of global policy and strategy; Neil Golightly, vice-president of communications and public affairs for Ford of Europe; and Stuart Dyble, director of communications and public affairs, Premier Automotive Group.

"These realignments reflect recently announced leadership changes, our drive for a more integrated communications strategy within the company, the need to maximize PR effectiveness in support of the revitalization plan, and the strong reputation of Ford Motor Company," Vella wrote in an internal memo announcing the PR changes.

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