Ford Motor Company has appointed the third President and CEO of its Australia operations in the past six months – and the first Australian since Geoff Polites, following the resignations of Tom Gorman and then his successor Bill Osborne.
The new boss of Ford Motor Company Australia is Marin Burela, currently Vehicle Line Executive Director, Global Small Car Segment Vehicles.
He will relocate to Ford Australia’s Melbourne offices from October 1, and report directly to John Parker, Executive Vice President, Asia Pacific and Africa.
Both Mr Gorman and Mr Osborne, long-term Ford executives, left the company to take up positions outside the automotive industry.
Mr Burela’s experience with bring small cars to the market, including the latest Fiesta, will be vital in reviving the fortunes of what has become known as the ‘Falcon Car Company’.
Mr Burela will be replaced in his current job by John Sullivan, currently Director of Product Development, Asia Pacific and Africa, who will relocate to Cologne, Germany.
Mr Burela first joined Ford Motor Company in 1984, and has served in a variety of senior management positions in manufacturing, sales and marketing, and product development, in Asia, Europe and North America.
These included a number of senior management roles at Ford of Australia, where he was last based in 1998.
Mr Burela’s appointment to lead Ford Australia marks a return to where his career began with Ford as an engineering graduate of Ford of Australia’s graduate program nearly 25 years ago.
“Mr Burela’s strong leadership and broad experience within Ford Motor Company will be vital to driving the successful future of Ford Australia’s operations.
“ As a native of Geelong (Ford’s Australian birthplace), his return to Ford Australia allows him to lead not only one of Ford’s more strategic global markets, but one for which he has such a strong affinity,” said Mr Parker.
Mr Burela joined Ford of Europe in 2004 to lead the development of Ford’s Global Small Car product portfolio.
This included the new global Ford Fiesta, which is currently being rolled out in European markets, and soon by markets in the Asia Pacific and Africa region.
In addition to his roles at Ford Motor Company, Mr Burela held senior management positions at Jaguar and Land Rover, under Australian Ford icon the late Geoff Polites.
At Land Rover, he was responsible for the group’s manufacturing operations, and appointed to the Board of Land Rover in 2000.
Mr Burela was also appointed to the Board of Jaguar and Land Rover in 2002, before re-joining Ford of Europe in 2004.
In assuming his new role as Vehicle Line Director, Global Small Car Segment Vehicles, John Sullivan will lead the ongoing development and success of Ford Fiesta, as well as the future small car programs that are a defining part of Ford’s new global product strategy.
In his previous role as Director of Product Development, Asia Pacific and Africa, Mr Sullivan oversaw a team responsible for creating and implementing an integrated product development team and product-cycle plan across the APA region.
“John was responsible for establishing our regional APA Product Development team, and leading, on behalf of the region, the critical collaboration which now takes place across our global product development system,” explained Mr Parker.
Prior to his posting in Bangkok, Sullivan worked as Technical Director, International Operations for Ford, Jaguar and Volvo at Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre in Dunton, England.
He also served as Chief Engineer for Ford of Europe from 1998-2005, where he was responsible for the body and safety engineering systems of the vehicles. Sullivan began his career with Ford in 1978.
Sullivan is a technical expert in the fields of Body Structure design, vehicle crash systems and analytical engineering systems (CAD/CAE/CAM).