Ford Motor Co. Chairman and CEO Bill Ford will take over duties of President and Chief Operating Officer Jim Padilla, who will retire July 1 and give up his seat on the company’s board of directors in May.

Padilla’s exit had been rumored for months. Since Mark Fields was named president-The Americas last September and began leading a major restructuring effort, Padilla, 59, appeared to have a reduced role at the auto maker.

Bill Ford now will oversee a new Executive Operating Committee, composed of the auto maker’s executive vice presidents, including Fields; Mark Schulz, president-International Operations; Lewis Booth, head of Ford of Europe and the Premier Automotive Group; Ann Stevens, COO-The Americas; and Chief Financial Officer Don Leclair.

Fields and Schulz, who had reported to Padilla, now will report directly to Bill Ford.

Padilla has spent 40 years at Ford much of it on the manufacturing side. He also was president of Ford South America Operations from 1996 to 1998. He assumed his current position in February 2005.