DEARBORN, MI: It took a while, but Ford has finally found its man.
DEARBORN, MI: It took a while, but Ford has finally found its
The auto giant scored a major coup last week, luring highly regarded
auto PR pro Jason Vines away from Nissan North America and installing
him as the company’s top voice.
The search, necessitated when CEO Jac Nasser shifted Vaughn Koshkarian
overseas to head Ford/Asia Pacific, was a lengthy one, marked by
significantly more intrigue than is usually seen in the tight-knit world
of automotive PR. Insiders had whispered that Ford was dead set on
hiring a woman and was looking outside the auto business for worthy
candidates. Another source said Nasser extended the job to a female PR
pro at a major industrial company, only to be turned down.
In an interview with PRWeek, Nasser said he was thrilled with the end
result, regardless of the difficulty of the search. ’I’ve had my eye on
Jason for a long time. I saw Jason do some good work, some of it so good
it irritated me.’
Nasser wouldn’t comment on the speculation that Ford had looked outside
the industry to fill the post. He noted, however, that auto experience
wasn’t a ’must have’ on his list of criteria. ’We wanted to make sure
that we had an individual who understood the business of
communications,’ he said.
Nasser is known as a no-nonsense, high-energy executive, a factor some
thought would put a great deal of pressure on the person who accepted
the post. But Vines, who starts at Ford today, said he anticipates few
difficulties: ’I’m pretty open and frank. Jac’s energy level is
incredible and I’ll just try to match it.’
Vines’ appointment received rave reviews. Though only 40, he boasts a
long list of auto PR credits, including 15 years at Chrysler under Steve
Harris (now head of GM PR) and two years in Washington, DC with the
American Automobile Manufacturers Association.
’It’s an absolutely brilliant move on Ford’s part,’ Harris said. Added
Steve Rossi, VP of global communications for Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge at
DaimlerChrysler, ’We now have three gentlemen running the three PR
Clearly shocked by Vines’ departure, Nissan said it will immediately
start its search for a new VP of external affairs.
- See editorial, p20
BIG THREE LINEUP
DaimlerChrysler: Steve Rossi, VP, global communications,
Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge; moved from heading PR for Mercedes-Benz of North
America after a February 1999 reorganization of the merged
DaimlerChrysler PR staff.
The skinny: Boasts experience with Saab and Ford.
Ford: Jason Vines, VP communications; hired away from Nissan North
America this month
The skinny: Comes with experience at Nissan, Chrysler and the American
Automobile Manufacturers Association.
General Motors: Steve Harris, VP communications; hired away from
DaimlerChrysler Feb. 8, 1999
The skinny: Two months after joining GM, lured several key PR people