VOLVO SWITCHES ITS CEO, FORD MOTOR ANNOUNCES

Fredrik Arp may not have had the name recognition held by Bob Lutz or Gianni Agnelli, but holding the position of chief executive officer at Volvo Cars, a Swedish subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, had to be a blast. His Ford bio is available here.

Arp is leaving Ford and Volvo, however. British-born Stephen Odell will take his place. Odell had been the chief operating officer of Ford of Europe since April and has been with Ford Motor since 1980. Beginning on the first day of October, the 53-year old Odell will take charge at Volvo just under Lewis Booth. Booth is an executive VP with Ford and chairman of Volvo. 
Ford Motor’s Alan Mulally says that Odell “brings to Volvo a wealth of experience of strong leadership in the automotive industry.” He’s previously worked more specifically on other brands, including Ford, Jaguar and Mazda. Excerpts from the press release are below. If you’re wondering why a release like this gains attention at GCBC, do recall that Volvo was a frequent mention in August. Employment changes like this become more relevant when the direction of a much-discussed company is at stake.
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Booth thanked Fredrik Arp for his leadership of Volvo over the past three years, a period in which Volvo reduced costs and strengthened its product lineup despite a difficult business environment and challenges presented by adverse currency exchange rates and other external factors.

“Fredrik has steered the Volvo team through some difficult times since joining the company three years ago. His wide experience in business has been a strong asset in helping to develop and implement Volvo’s plan to improve its business results.”

“Fredrik has decided that now is the right time to hand over to a new president and CEO, Stephen Odell, who will lead the Volvo team through the next stage of its recovery.”

“Volvo is one of the great iconic automotive brands,” Odell said. “The very attributes that make Volvo distinctively Swedish – its heritage of safety, environmental concern and its Scandinavian design — appeal to customers around the globe. Our strategy is to enhance the premium nature of Volvo by further strengthening these attributes. Volvo really is the auto brand for today’s customers.”

“We have a restructuring plan in place that will help to deliver a more competitive business and that enables Volvo to continue to build upon its core strengths. Volvo will adopt a more stand-alone approach within Ford Motor Company, while still leveraging product development and purchasing synergies with other Ford operations.”