Ford China Boss Luo Resigns
There seems to be some confusion and frustration inside of Ford as the head of the Chinese operations, Jason Luo stepped down from his position. The moves comes only a little over four months after Luo was hired by the automaker to try and increase its market share in the world’s largest automotive marketplace, China. Luo cited his reason for stepping down to be personal problems that had began prior to him accepting the position on September 1, 2017.
Peter Fleet is currently the President of Ford’s Asia Pacific fleet and will take over for Luo on an interim basis until a replacement is found and put in place. Speaking of Luo, Fleet said, “Jason made valuable contributions…” and , “Jason’s decision was not related to the business strategy or performance of Ford China.” Regardless of whether the move was personal or because of some dysfunction inside of Ford, it certainly sets the company back at a time when it is attempting to gain market share in China. In simple terms, the timing could not have been worse.
Jason Luo came to Ford after leaving his position as CEO of Key Safety Systems only weeks before it finalized a nearly $1.6 billion deal to purchase Takata, a Japanese airbag manufacturer. He was said to have been the key component to the deal with Takata and only left due to family matters that he needed to tend to in China. As CEO of Key Safety Systems since 2007, Jason was said to have taken the company in the right direction and had the full support of shareholders and the board of directors
Ford had a six percent drop in sales in 2017 even though its Chinese sales had a three percent increase. No matter what the reasons really were for Luo’s departure Ford will be looking to increase their sales in China in 2018 and beyond. Who will lead them there is an entirely unanswered question at this point.