DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. on Thursday named Ford of Europe Chairman Steven Armstrong as president of the Changan Ford joint venture in China, effective Oct. 1. He replaces Nigel Harris, who is retiring after 34 years with the automaker.
Armstrong, 55, previously was president of Ford Europe, Middle East and Africa; president of Ford South America; COO of Getrag-Ford Transmissions; and held various roles with Jaguar and Volvo when the brands were under Ford ownership.
“Steve’s leadership will help us further strengthen the Changan Ford JV as we bring more new vehicles to the China market, including our first global all-electric small SUV,” Ford CEO Jim Hackett said in a statement. “His deep understanding of Ford and the automotive industry and keen ability to build productive relationships with partners and employees around the globe will serve us well as we drive Ford’s growth in China.”
Ford has struggled recently in China, with second-quarter sales falling 22 percent from the same period a year ago. But the automaker noted that sales of Changan Ford brand vehicles recorded two consecutive months of more than 30 percent increases in May and June.
Ford said Armstrong’s responsibilities in Europe will be distributed among Ford of Europe President Stuart Rowley and others on the regional team.
Harris, 58, was named to his current post in 2016. He previously was president of Ford India Private Limited; vice president of Asia Pacific sales, services and distribution; and general manager of Changan Ford Sales Co.
“Nigel is a highly seasoned executive who has motivated our people around the globe, and has been a valuable asset to this company,” Hackett said in the statement. “He has had an accomplished career at Ford, including key leadership positions in China, Europe, India and Asia Pacific, and we appreciate his significant contributions.”