Ford’s most senior European marketer, Philippe Mellier, has
resigned to join Renault after less than a year in the job.
Mellier will head Renault’s marketing across western Europe, with the
exclusion of France. He will replace Philippe Gamba, who has been
appointed chairman of Renault Credit International.
Mellier will also become chairman of Renault UK and all western European
affiliates except France.
The move will be a blow to Ford, which promoted Mellier to European
vice-president of sales and marketing in January.
Mellier has been responsible for the launch of the Focus, Ford’s
successor to its best-selling model, the Escort. In July, Ford realigned
its pounds 200m European advertising, and switched to a brand-based
strategy from its previous country-based approach.
Mellier appointed Young & Rubicam to the pan-European launch of the
Focus, ousting Ogilvy & Mather as lead agency across Europe. Y&R had
been responsible for the acclaimed Puma ads, cut with film footage of
Steve McQueen in Bullitt.
Y&R picked up the European advertising accounts for the Ka, Fiesta,
Explorer and Windstar, worth pounds 100m across Europe. The agency
already had the Galaxy, Puma, Cougar and Lincoln work.
The launch of the Focus, in September, marked the beginning of Mellier’s
umbrella branding campaign to promote Ford as a modern, progressive
Shortly afterward, Mellier spoke to Ford dealers at the launch of the
Focus in Berlin and said the new image was ’to enable you (dealers) to
reach new customers. At a time of change, we need a stronger Ford
Mellier has 18 years service to the company and succeeded Keith Magee
who took early retirement last year.
A spokesman for Ford of Europe confirmed that Mellier had resigned. Ford
said that Mellier’s decision had been ’taken on personal grounds, to
allow him and his family to return to France’. A replacement has yet to
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders figures show that Ford has
sold 389,677 cars, an increase of 8153 year on year. Its market share
dipped slightly from 18.29% to 18.12%.
Renault’s advertising is through Publicis across Europe. In the UK it
has been best known for the ’Nicole-Papa’ ads, although these were
replaced this year.