Ford Motor Group has appointed Kumar Galhotra as its global CMO as the Dearborn-based automaker prepares for a future defined by electric vehicles and self-driving technology.
Jim Hackett, Ford's recently appointed CEO and former head of its self-driving division, announced the move as part of a broader executive shake-up.
Galhotra, a long-time Ford executive, will add global marketing responsibilities to his current responsibilities leading Lincoln, Ford's luxury motor brand.
In his expanded role, Galhotra is tasked with developing "more effective brand communications including digital services, emobility and autonomy."
The Indian-born executive, who joined the company in 1988, led product launches in South America and was chief engineer for the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner prior to his responsibilities for Lincoln.
Ford is widely seen as lagging in its electric car and self-driving technology initiatives. Hackett's appointment earlier this year and this week's executive shake-up are intended to position Ford more favorably for the challenges of the next five years and to make up some of the ground lost on competitors like GM and Tesla.
Analysts agree the opportunity is significant for auto companies that step up to the plate not only with the right technology solutions but with relevant, compelling brand communications that attract consumers and keep them engaged. Galhotra will need to take a strong, coordinated approach to global marketing to reframe Ford's place within a fast-moving industry narrative.
Since taking over as CEO from Mark Fields in May, Hackett has focused on driving cost efficiencies across Ford's global operations.
Q3 results announced this week were above analysts' expectations. "Clearly we have a lot of work ahead of us but this was a solid quarter," Hackett told investors on a conference call to discuss the results, according to CNBC. Auto sales across the United States continue to lag behind 2016's record numbers.
Earlier this month, Ford announced plans to triple the number of U.S. workplace charging stations to 600 in the next two years.