Marketing VP at Ford to Depart

DETROIT Francisco Codina, group vp, North American marketing, sales and service at Ford Motor Co., will retire effective Nov. 1 after 30 years with the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker, the company said.

Codina, 55, was appointed to his current position in February 2006, two months prior to the launch of Ford’s “Bold Moves” ad push, which has included an online documentary on changes at Ford, “challenge” ads in which the Ford Fusion was successfully pitted in a driving contest against more popular sedans from Toyota and Honda, and a podcast series to promote the Edge crossover.

During that stretch, Codina has been out front in promoting the company’s dedication to “Bold Moves” and keeping Ford’s marketing aggressive.

Codina is credited with establishing Ford’s brand marketing in Argentina and Mexico, where he served from 1994-97. Ford’s U.S. sales dropped 8 percent last year, and sales through August are down 14.2 percent, per Autodata, Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

Ford is seeking to replace Codina immediately and will field candidates from both inside and outside the company, a representative said.

Ford spent $1.77 billion last year in U.S. major measured media, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Ad spending through the first half of 2007 was close to $900 million.

The bulk of Ford’s business is handled by WPP shops JWT, Young & Rubicam and Ogilvy & Mather under the banner of WPP’s Team Detroit in Dearborn. Other Ford roster shops include Havas’ Euro RSCG (Jaguar), independent Doner (Mazda) and Havas’ Arnold and independent Nitro (Volvo).