Top Fallon Account Manager Moves on to Ford

Rich Stoddart admits his sole auto experience is driving one. But the veteran account executive, who is leaving Fallon for a top marketing post at Ford, said he expects his experience working with big brands to be what counts.

“If you listen to [Ford president and CEO Jac] Nasser, the goal is to transform them from a manufacturing company to a consumer-centric company,” Stoddart said. “I’m up for that, that’s no small vision.”

Stoddart, 38, left his post as director of account management at the Minneapolis shop last week for the Detroit automaker, where he will serve as manager of marketing communications for Ford U.S.

He replaces Jan Klug, who earlier this year was promoted to vice president of global marketing at Ford. Stoddart worked with Klug in the early 1990s at Leo Burnett and she contacted him about the Ford job, he said.

Klug could not be reached for comment.

Stoddart also will report to Francisco Codina, former head of Ford in Argentina who in March was named general marketing manager for the Ford division.

Stoddart started his career at Burnett, working on McDonald’s, before joining Fallon in 1995. He expressed confidence at making the transition to the client side after an entire career at agencies.

“I think this is a natural extension of what I’ve been doing,” he said. “In the end, I don’t think it matters what side of the desk you sit on.”

Stoddart in October 1999 was named director of account management, responsible for senior staff training and development, strategic counsel for existing clients and new-business development. He also oversaw the agency’s Lee Jeans, Long John Silver’s and Ralston Purina accounts.

Fallon has no immediate plans to replace Stoddart, said president Rob White. “We’ll take some time to figure out how we’re going to organize it,” he said.

White praised Stoddart and said his leaving was a “sore loss for the agency. He was a role model and a mentor for many,” White said.