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Fallon Exec, An Auto Neophyte, Moves to Ford

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Rich Stoddart admits his sole auto experience is driving one.

But the veteran account executive, who left Fallon last week for a top marketing post at Ford Motor Co., said he expects his experience working with big brands to be what counts when he joins the automaker.

"If you listen to [Ford president and CEO Jacques] Nasser, the goal is to transform them from a manufacturing company to a consumercentric company," Stoddart said. "I'm up for that."

Stoddart, 38, left his post as director of account management at the Minneapolis-based shop for the Dearborn, Mich.-based car maker, where he will be manager of marketing communications for Ford U.S.

He replaces Jan Klug, who earlier this year was promoted to vp of global marketing at Ford. Stoddart worked with Klug in the early 1990s when they were both 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 began his career at Burnett, working on McDonald's. He joined Fallon in 1995, and 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.

"I think this is a natural extension of what I've been doing," Stoddart said about his shift from agency to client side. "In the end, I don't think it matters what side of the desk you sit on."

Fallon has no plans yet to replace Stoddart, said president Rob White. "We'll take some time to figure out how we're going to organize it," he said.