Ford Announces Executive Retirements, Departures, New Global Supply Chain Management Lead
Published June 6, 2023
Two Ford corporate officers have announced plans to retire after accomplished three-decade careers; a highly regarded executive is returning to the auto industry to lead the company’s global supply chain operations; and a Ford Blue executive is departing to become CEO of a major transportation and logistics business.
Kiersten Robinson, general manager of family vehicles, and president, Mexico and Canada, for Ford Blue, is wrapping up her tenure at the company July 1. Jonathan Jennings is retiring from his position as vice president of supply chain, effective Aug. 1.
Liz Door, for the past six years the leader of global strategic sourcing for home-appliance maker Whirlpool Corp., is coming to Ford. Starting June 12, Door will be the company’s chief supply chain officer, taking on responsibilities that since September have been held on an interim basis by CFO John Lawler, to whom she’ll report.
And Dave Bozeman, who’s been running Ford Blue’s Enthusiast Vehicles unit and the Ford Customer Service Division, has accepted an offer to become CEO of C.H. Robinson, a global transportation and third-party logistics enterprise.
Door comes to Ford at a time when improving quality and reducing costs, including through the supply chain, are high priorities and vital to realizing the full potential of the Ford+ plan.
Before becoming Whirlpool’s executive vice president of global strategic sourcing and a member of the appliance maker’s executive committee in 2017, she headed North America procurement for the Benton Harbor, MI.-based company for more than six years.
Those roles placed her in the middle of Whirlpool reimagining and developing smart, networked kitchen and laundry products embedded with sensors, software and other new technologies---in the same way Ford is creating breakthrough digital platforms and software for adoption across connected electric, hybrid and gas vehicles.
“Liz brings deep, relevant domain experience---including leveraging the Internet of Things to create great value for customers---from both outside and inside the global auto industry,” Lawler said. “That’s an ideal combination for leading a team that’s determined to restore supply chain management as a competitive advantage for Ford.”
Prior to Whirlpool, Door spent more than 15 years advancing through a series of strategic purchasing and supply chain roles at General Motors, ultimately becoming an executive in the global purchasing and supply chain organization.
“Ford and our suppliers will win together by delivering fresh, high-quality products for our customers,” Door said. “We’re going to expand the use of advanced quality planning throughout the supply portfolio.”
Door began her career with Prince Corp. (now part of Johnson Controls), as a resident quality engineer at a Chrysler assembly plant in St. Louis. A Michigan native, she holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Michigan State University.
Since starting as a manufacturing engineer at the former Cleveland Casting Plant in 1993, Jennings’ 30-year Ford career has taken him across the U.S. and around the world---including to Mexico, Thailand and China---and to increasingly significant assignments and accomplishments.
Jennings has worked in multiple disciplines at Ford and helped lead strategic initiatives. Among them have been delivering exciting new Lincoln vehicles and helping hundreds of suppliers reach and maintain manufacturing readiness. But the greatest challenges for Jennings and his supply chain management colleagues have been over the past three years.
“Our industry and others have been pummeled by issues caused by the pandemic, natural disasters and extraordinary demand for new technology,” Lawler said. “Jonathan’s firsthand relationships with vendors have helped us navigate often severe limits on volumes of semiconductors, batteries and even basic parts in order to best meet the needs of customers.”
Jennings said the culture, people and opportunity to make a difference were foundational to his time at Ford.
“Ford is different from most organizations in that, even though it’s one of the largest in the world, this remains a people-focused company that cares for customers and colleagues in the best and most difficult of times.”
Robinson began her 28-year career in labor relations and devoted most of it to leadership in human resources---in Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe and North America---including four years as Ford chief human resources officer and head of Ford Land. More than a year ago, she took on the operational role in Ford Blue, which develops, makes and sells gas and hybrid vehicles.
“Kiersten uses her expertise in people and systems to find solutions that are good for the business, our customers and our teams,” said Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford Blue. “She’s a great listener who brings global perspective and empathy to large-scale change.”
Those leadership qualities were particularly evident amid the COVID-19 pandemic, when the company shut down operations virtually overnight, then safely brought them back up starting weeks later.
“We literally wrote and shared with other organizations a playbook for how to simultaneously protect our people and our future,” said Robinson.
A passionate advocate for learning and development, Robinson helped create flagship programs to accelerate the readiness of future global leaders. She’s been central to expanding Ford’s attention to diversity, equity and inclusion. On Robinson’s watch, the company introduced progressive benefits like parental leave for both mothers and fathers. She’s also active in the community, including serving two terms as chair of Inforum, a nonprofit organization that helps women remove barriers to and accelerate their careers.
Robinson joined Ford in 1995 in Australia, her home country, had progressively larger HR assignments during periods of growth in Asia Pacific and Europe, and moved to headquarters here in 2002.
Robinson’s responsibilities will shift to Andrew Frick, Ford Blue’s vice president of sales, distribution and trucks. Frick’s operational role will now span all of North America and his general management responsibilities will expand to include family vehicles---or SUVs---in addition to trucks.
Also within Ford Blue, Tim Slatter has been named head of vehicle programs, a group previously led by Trevor Worthington, who retired in May. The assignment, which was effective June 1, includes management of all Ford Blue global vehicle programs, including derivatives, and Ford Performance products. In this role, he’ll also be involved in strategy and cycle planning for Ford Blue, Ford Performance and Ford Motor Sports.
Slatter reports to Jim Baumbick, Ford Blue’s vice president of product development operations and quality. A 25-year company veteran who’s also worked in China and Australia, Slatter most recently was vehicle line director for buses and vans in Ford of Europe and chair of Ford of Britain. He’ll continue to direct U.K. operations until his successor in that position is in place.
Bozeman, who came to Ford from Amazon, is leaving the company June 16 to become CEO at Minnesota-based C.H. Robinson, which provides customers around the world with services including freight transportation, transportation management, brokerage and warehousing. The company last year recorded $25 billion in revenue.
“Dave’s an exceptional leader and partner, and we appreciate his contributions to Ford,” Galhotra said. “We congratulate him on becoming a CEO and wish him every success.”
“I’m grateful to Ford and my colleagues for their generosity and teamwork this past year and could not be more confident about the company’s plan and prospects for success,” Bozeman said. “My experiences here will be invaluable as I help another great global company with its next phase of growth.”