BERLIN - Rose Mary Farenden, Automotive News Europe Woman of the Year for 1998, now has a chance to practice something she has been preaching for a long time.
'We as an industry need to be responsible to the marketplace where we sell our products,' she told the Automotive News Europe Congress, where she accepted her award. 'We need to get more young people, women and minorities into our industry.'
Farenden, who was project manager for the Ford Focus lower-medium segment car at the Ford Dunton Engineering Center in Essex, England, has been an advocate for employing women and minorities within Ford. She has done so as part of a couple of teams, including the Dunton Diversity Team and on one of Ford's Capstone teams. The Capstone teams are made up of potential future Ford leaders who are nominated by the executives who report directly to Jac Nasser, Ford chief executive officer.
Now Farenden, 35, has been named director of global recruiting at Ford Motor Co. She will move from the Dunton Engineering Center to Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, in the USA.
In her new capacity, Farenden will be responsible for 'communicating the Ford brand' on college campuses where future salaried Ford executives and engineers are recruited. Farenden's position is a new one within Ford.
She will report to David Murphy, vice president of human resources.
The goal, she said, is to make Ford the 'global employer of choice.' The recruitment program will be launched in North America and then expanded to Europe and other places around the world where Ford employs people.
Her job will be 'mobilizing the Ford team,' which means getting top executives like Nasser out on college campuses to talk to prospective recruits. She says her new job is not that different from her old job engineering vehicles.
'It's similar to launching a new car,' she said. 'It's exactly the same. You pull people together with a common focus.'
Farenden has made a name for herself within Ford communicating customer needs back to engineers. During research for the Focus, she oversaw videotaping of customer clinics. She then took the tapes back to Dunton and edited them so engineers could see them.
Most recently she worked as chief body engineer of the forthcoming multi-activity vehicle based on the Ford Focus platform.