Ford Motor Company today announced key leadership appointments as it continues to accelerate its customer-focused Ford+ transformation.
Elena Ford, Ford’s chief customer experience officer, is named chief dealer engagement officer, effective today. In this role, she will work closely with Ford’s 10,000 dealers worldwide to accelerate their transformation into a competitive differentiator across Ford’s global businesses. Elena Ford and dealers around the globe will collaborate to increase the consistency and efficiency of Ford’s global dealer council’s governance, improve retail facilities, modernize training and development, become more diverse, further raise community engagement, and amplify best practices.
“I have worked hand-in-hand with dealers throughout my career and I am excited to now partner with our 10,000 dealers globally to make our retail network a competitive advantage for Ford,” Elena Ford said. “Our dealers are the face of Ford with millions of customers, and part of the fabric of communities around the world. We can build on that strength through better training, deeper engagement and more diversity.”
Ford also announced that Lisa Materazzo, formerly Toyota’s top marketing executive in North America, is joining Ford as global chief marketing officer effective today, reporting to Ford President and CEO Jim Farley. At Toyota, Materazzo also held key leadership roles at Lexus and Scion.
At Ford, Materazzo will lead advanced product planning and all marketing activities across Ford Blue, Ford Model e and Ford Pro. She will also oversee Ford Performance and Lincoln.
“The automotive industry is going through a sea change with the electric and software transition, and the more I looked at the bold bets Ford is making on the future, the more I wanted to be part of this mission,” Materazzo said. “Great marketing can supercharge the Ford+ plan because we have the opportunity to win the hearts and minds of customers with seamlessly connected product, service, and ownership experiences that create brand advocates for life.”
Materazzo’s lifelong passion for the auto industry and motorsports traces back to growing up in Upstate New York in the shadow of the famed Watkins Glen racetrack. She learned to drive in a 1981 Ford Mustang Cobra.
“I grew up in a family of auto enthusiasts and have dedicated my career to automotive. I’m a huge motorsports enthusiast. My idea of a vacation is going to F1 races around the world,” Materazzo said. “I feel incredibly blessed to be joining this iconic company at a time when it’s making bold bets on the future – from the three new divisions of the company to the audacious performance and motorsports plan. I am especially excited to work with Lincoln President Dianne Craig and the whole Lincoln team to reinvigorate this iconic and powerful brand.”
Ford also announced William Clay “Will” Ford III is joining the company as general manager, Ford Performance, later this month. In the role, Will Ford will build out Ford Performance as a business and lifestyle brand, working closely with product development, marketing, dealers, merchandising and other Ford teams.
Ford is entering one of the most ambitious periods for performance and motorsports in its 120-year history – from joining Formula 1 with Red Bull Racing, to competing at LeMans next year with Mustang, to starting a new Mustang racing series. At the same time, the company is developing an unprecedented lineup of performance cars and trucks, such as the Mustang GTD, Mustang Darkhorse and F-150 Raptor R.
“Nothing matters more to me than Ford’s reputation and brand, and Ford Performance is in a unique position to grow the passion for our brand throughout the world,” said Will Ford, son of Ford Executive Chair Bill Ford and a fifth-generation member of the founding Ford family. “We have the best high-performance product lineup and the most exciting motorsport schedule that I have seen in my lifetime, with more to come. I’m excited by the opportunity to use Ford Performance to create new ways for our customers and fans to experience and love our brand, whether or not they own one of our vehicles.”
Will Ford graduated from Princeton University and received his MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He spent a decade working at the intersection of automotive corporations and early-stage mobility startups as a venture capital investor and entrepreneur.