Ford unveils Vella for key position in communications

DEARBORN, MI: The Ford Motor Company has appointed Jim Vella as director for global news and information, a key communications post.

DEARBORN, MI: The Ford Motor Company has appointed Jim Vella as director for global news and information, a key communications post.

DEARBORN, MI: The Ford Motor Company has appointed Jim Vella as

director for global news and information, a key communications post.



Vella replaces John Spelich, who left Ford in July to become director of

worldwide corporate communications at Gateway (PRWeek, July 5).



A native Detroiter, Vella will report to Mel Stephens, director,

corporate communications. Vella and his staff will oversee a broad range

of communications assignments in the legal, financial and human

resources areas, as well as general media inquiries (the PR 800 number)

and crisis communications.



The IR, internal communications and editorial services offices also

report to Stephens.



Vella assumes the new role at a critical time for the auto giant, which

has been saddled with its share of PR problems in recent months. Among

the most prominent is an ongoing attempt to shut down a fan’s

unauthorized web site. Despite having authorized the self-described

’Ford aficionado’ to post certain materials on the site in the past,

Ford is claiming he revealed confidential information about future plans

(PRWeek, September 7).



Vella is the first head of Ford’s corporate news operation to boast a

broadcasting rather than a print media background. Before joining the

firm 11 years ago, he was managing editor of WJBK-Channel 2 in Detroit,

then a CBS affiliate.



He most recently served as director of manufacturing and regional news,

a post that will now be filled by former manager of employee

communications Della DiPeitro.



It seems Ford is not planning to replace former director of public

affairs for automotive operations, Judith Muhlberg. A 22-year Ford

veteran, she left in February to join Seattle-based Boeing as VP of

communications.



Ford appears to have divided her former responsibilities among existing

staffers.



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