TURIN – Ford has given its No. 2 marketing job in Europe to the man who has helped make the U.S. automaker Italy's top-selling foreign brand for six years in a row. Gaetano Thorel, currently managing director of Ford Italy, takes over as Ford of Europe vice president of marketing on April 1.
Thorel, 44, succeeds Paul Thomas, 59, who is retiring after 38 years with the automaker.
Thorel, who is from Catania, southern Italy, will relocate from Rome to Ford's European headquarters in Cologne, Germany, and report to Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Service Roelant De Waard.
"Gaetano has gained wide experience in numerous marketing sales and service roles in Ford of Italy and Ford of Europe. We look forward to him bringing all his experience and enthusiasm to Ford's European Marketing team and in supporting our global brand," de Waard said in a statement.
Thorel takes control of product, pricing and communications during a crucial time for Ford's European operations. Last year, Ford of Europe reported a pre-tax loss of $27 million despite increasing unit sales 2 percent to 1.6 million units and revenues 15 percent to $33.8 billion.
Ford, which had a 2010 pre-tax profit of $182 million, blamed the loss on an unfavorable exchange rate and increased pressure to reduce new-car prices.