Ford Motors has filled the position of head of its China operations after nine months, with hopes that the new boss can pull a U-turn on what has been a gloomy year for sales.
Anning Chen, who previously headed state-owned car maker Chery, will take on the role, which was left open in January when former chief Jason Luo unexpectedly resigned for “personal reasons,” according to the Financial Times.
In the statement announcing Chen’s appointment, Ford also said its China business will become a standalone unit “designed to accelerate Ford’s return to profitable growth in China.”
Ford has been fighting to cling on to its share in the world’s largest auto market in recent years. Sales in China dropped 6% in 2017 against 3% growth in the country’s overall auto sales. The first half of this year saw sales slip a further 25% from a year earlier, offering some of Ford’s worst earnings since it entered China 17 years ago.
“Success in China is critical as we reposition our global business for long-term success,” said CEO Jim Hackett. “With today’s actions, we are strengthening our commitment to the China market and reorganising our international markets to strengthen their performance.”