Ford VPs Kenneth Kent, Joe Bakaj, Bill Russo to retire

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Ford Motor Co. on Thursday said that vice presidents in its treasury, product development and manufacturing departments would retire at the end of the year.

Treasurer Kenneth Kent, 56; Joe Bakaj, 56, vice president of product development for Ford of Europe; and Bill Russo, 64, vice president of manufacturing for Ford Asia Pacific, will retire at the end of December.

“All three of these leaders have given decades of distinguished service to Ford around the world,” Ford CEO Jim Hackett said in a statement. “Each has brought unique perspectives, deep expertise, and integrity in helping Ford grow and prosper over many years. We are grateful for their service and wish them the best in the future.”

David Webb, Ford’s assistant treasurer, will succeed Kent, while Joerg Beyer, executive engineering director for Ford of Europe, will succeed Bakaj. A successor to Russo was not immediately named.

The moves come amid a companywide restructuring that will include undisclosed cuts to Ford’s salaried workforce. Hackett has so far declined to offer details about the cuts but said this week said the automaker was still planning to wrap up the process by the middle of next year.

Hackett did, however, dispute a Morgan Stanley report estimating that Ford could eliminate 25,000 jobs globally. He said that number did not come from Ford.

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