Ford named Lewis Booth executive vice president and CFO effective Nov. 1, replacing Don Leclair. Leclair announced on Oct. 10 that he will retire after 32 years with the company.
Booth, 59, has been chairman of Ford of Europe since 2005. He has also been chairman of Volvo Car Corp. since January 2007.
Booth's move creates an organization-chart domino effect, starting with John Fleming, 57, who will succeed Booth in the Ford of Europe job. Fleming also takes responsibility for Volvo Car Corp., plus Ford Export Operations & Global Growth Initiatives. He will report directly to Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally.
Having a globe-trotting executive like Booth as CFO is fitting, in light of Mulally's "One Ford" initiative. Mulally is trying to break down silos between Ford's global operations, decrease redundancy, and share product-development costs and components behind the scenes, and Booth is well-positioned to know how all the pieces could fit together.
Booth joined Ford of Europe in 1978 as a financial analyst. During his career, he has had a series of senior leadership positions around the world, including Ford of Europe, Ford Asia Pacific, Ford South Africa, Mazda as well as Ford finance, truck operations, product development, manufacturing and sales operations in Europe, Asia and North America.
Leclair, 56, was named CFO in August 2003. He joined Ford in 1976. According to Automotive News, Booth is the fifth Ford CEO in six years. Ford lost a total of $19.5 billion on Leclair's watch, the trade paper said.
Also on Leclair's watch, Ford secured more than $20 billion in financing in 2006. That looked a little desperate at the time, but it looks smart now, as the credit crunch has forced each of the Detroit 3 to scrape for loans, to keep their operations going.