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New bosses for Volvo and Ford of Europe

Thu, 15 Jul 2010

Volvo will shortly have a new boss, it was announced today. Geely Motors is buying Volvo from Ford and the two companies confirmed today what we all suspected: that Volvo CEO Stephen Odell will leave the top office in Gothenburg and head up Ford of Europe. The new chairman of Volvo is Li Shufu, Geely's top man.

Volvo's replacement CEO will be appointed later this summer. Shufu will have a Volvo old-timer as his vice-chairman: Hans-Olov Olsson, who is a former president and chief executive at Volvo.

Both men will start their jobs when the transaction is complete in the third quarter of 2010.

Odell will take over as CEO and chairman of Ford's European arm; Ford's current executive vice president John Fleming will take over Ford's global manufacturing gig.

Odell, a Ford lifer since 1980, has led Volvo since October 2008 and has steered the company through a global recession and the Ford sale.

Ford also named Stuart Rowley, chief financial officer of Volvo Cars, as the new chief financial officer of Ford of Europe.

'We have made significant progress in assembling the team that will develop Volvo Cars under Geely's ownership,' said Shufu. 'Today's board appointments underline my personal commitment to this famous company.'

Volvo is due to keep its headquaters in Gothenburg, Sweden, but today's appointment suggests that Geely is exerting top-level influence right from day one.

Ford boss Alan Mulally paid tribue to Odell's work. 'Stephen did an outstanding job leading Volvo back to profitability and has a strong record of delivering results for Ford of Europe,' said Mulally. 'We are thrilled that he will be returning to lead Ford of Europe to build upon the tremendous foundation of great products and profitable growth we have in the region.'

By Daniel Puddicombe