James O'Connor won't be moving to California after all. The silver-hairedMotor Co. marketing executive who has headed Lincoln Mercury Div. for the last two years is moving over to become vice president and general manager of Ford Div.
Ross Roberts leaves theDiv. post to become president of Ford Investment Enterprise Corp., a new entity formed a year ago to position the company more effectively in the rapidly changing automotive retail environment.
Taking Mr. 'Connor's place at Lincoln Mercury as it sets up shop in its new Irvine, CA, digs is Mark Hutchins, whose most recent assignment has been as executive director for the Americas and for direct marketing operations in Ford Automotive Operations.
Mr. Roberts' new assignment puts him in charge of Ford's dealer consolidation initiatives, through which the company is trying to cover selected metropolitan areas with fewer dealerships, all working more closely together. In some cases, Ford is acquiring a certain number of stores with the goal of commonizing their architectural look and sales and service practices. Such plans have already begun among dealerships in Tulsa, OK, and San Diego.