Ford Motor Co.'s management shuffle bodes well for the future but won't revive the beleaguered company any time soon, observers say.

Nick Scheele leaves the top job at Ford Europe and assumes responsibility for North American operations beginning Aug. 1. Insiders say this, along with adding quality to the portfolio of global manufacturing group Vice President Jim Padilla, are positive moves. But there will be no near-term relief from fallout linked to the Firestone controversy.

If Mr. Scheele performs well, suggests one source, it could reflect well on President and Chief Executive Jacques Nasser's team-building ability. “The other side of the coin is, if he's successful you can say: ‘What do we need Jacques Nasser for?’” the source adds.

Mr. Scheele and Mr. Padilla helped revive Jaguar during the 1990. Anne Stevens becomes vice president-North America operations while David Thursfield replaces Mr. Scheele as Ford Europe chairman. Giving quality to Mr. Padilla frees Richard Parry-Jones to concentrate on product development. Mr. Parry-Jones also becomes chief technical officer.

Other moves include the appointment of Kathleen Ligocki to the new post of vice president-Canada, Mexico and North America strategy after one year as Ford of Mexico president and CEO. Shamel Rushwin becomes vice president-North America business operations.

Vice Chairman Wayne Booker retires at year-end and Chief Financial Officer Henry Wallace becomes group vice president-Mazda and Ford Asia Pacific. North American Vice President Martin Inglis will replace Mr. Wallace.