Ford's top marketing exec leaves automaker

Ford announced Wednesday its global chief marketing officer, Suzy Deering, would be "departing the company" effective Thursday. No successor was named.

The four-sentence news release offered no hint as to why Deering was leaving the Dearborn automaker.

"Deering has served as Ford’s global chief marketing officer for the past two years, overseeing brand communication, ecommerce and digital strategy, as well as the go-to-market strategy for Ford Blue and while supporting the future vision of Model e," the company said.

Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford Blue, which focuses on the internal combustion engine side of the business, said, “We thank Suzy for her contributions to Ford and wish her all the best in the future."

In previous departure announcements, Ford has included a statement from the employee. This one did not.

Ford Motor Company announces Suzy Deering as the new global chief marketing officer.
Ford Motor Company announces Suzy Deering as the new global chief marketing officer.

Deering made headlines in November 2020 when Ford announced hiring the 51-year-old eBay executive who spent five years there as worldwide and North America global chief marketing officer. It was part of a team shakeup at the time. Ford CEO Jim Farley took the helm on Oct. 1, 2020, and made a series of immediate executive changes.

He emphasized the need to add technology skill to the team, and Deering had experience using technology, data and analytics to anticipate customer needs and tailor strategy to respond.

Ford said Deering would modernize marketing, drive brand strategy and institute best practices while running all marketing operations in North America. Ford emphasized the importance of this role, as North America generated more than 70% of Ford’s automotive revenue, including customer intelligence and product and consumer marketing.

Data analytics is an increasingly lucrative area for companies, including automotive.

Ford executive Kumar Galhotra, seen here at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, praised CMO Suzy Deering upon her departure.
Ford executive Kumar Galhotra, seen here at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, praised CMO Suzy Deering upon her departure.

In a news release announcing Deering's hiring, Galhotra said, “Suzy’s world-class background will be vital to modernizing our approach, dialing up our understanding of customer ambitions and redefining our brands to help us grow.”

Deering said in a statement after being hired, “My team will be involved from end-to-end on behalf of customers — better connecting with them, using data to foresee and deliver what they need, and earning and keeping their trust.”

Goodbye on LinkedIn

Deering posted a message on the LinkedIn professional network Wednesday afternoon.

She wrote, "I joined this beloved Brand two years ago because of the mission and belief in what is possible now and for the next 100 years. During the time I’ve been at Ford a lot of change has happened and the path forward is even clearer and more spectacular. The crafting of teams to help invigorate new thinking and leverage the greatness and timelessness of the expertise is unstoppable. Today I still believe in this mission and vision."

Deering focused on her departure, strengths of Ford as a brand and optimism for the company's future.

"I’ve made the decision that it is time for me to move on and let the team fly. ... Lean on the strength of a clear company purpose that is driving the overall company mission," she wrote.

"It will bring me great joy to see the fruit of the labor of standing up an in-house eCommerce business to support the needs and expectations of the customer," Deering said. "Also, the game changing opportunity of recognizing the power of software and the dynamic interaction with the customer daily to unleash excitement like they never dreamed of from FORD. All while elevating the amazing portfolio of products for today and into the future. The shift to focusing on the customer and aligning all aspects of the business to exceed their expectations isn’t easy but I believe in what’s possible and what’s ahead."

She said she will be "rooting for Ford" and "smiling at what comes to life."

"Thank you to all of you who have lifted me up and pushed me forward to help stand up the foundation and deliver great work," she wrote. "As many of you know my priorities personally are God, Family and Work. So, for the next little bit, I will be spending some time with my family and giving back to the One that makes it all possible."

Nearly 400 people had commented on her page by Wednesday night, offering thanks and well wishes.

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Contact Phoebe Wall Howard: 313-618-1034 or Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Ford's top marketing exec Suzy Deering leaves automaker