Ford Europe Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Barb Samardzich, 57, has elected to retire from the Blue Oval after more than 26 years of service. She will be succeeded by 52-year-old Steven Armstrong, effective September 1st.
Ms. Samardzich has been the COO of Ford Europe since November, 2013; previously, she had served as VP of Product Development for the automaker’s European division, as well as occupying several officer positions in Global Product Programs and Powertrain Engineering.
“Barb’s leadership and expertise have been critical to the transformation of our Ford of Europe business into a vibrant and profitable organization,” said Ford President and CEO Mark Fields. “Over the course of her career, she was instrumental in developing our global powertrain lineup, along with guiding the design and engineering of many Ford vehicles including Mustang and F-Series Super Duty. We are grateful for her many contributions and strong leadership over the years.”
Samardzich’s successor to the role of Chief Operating Officer at Ford Europe, Steven Armstrong, has served as President of Ford South America since January, 2014. That position will be filled by Lyle Watters, 51, effective August 1st. He’s currently Ford Europe’s Chief Financial Officer and VP of Finance & Strategic Planning, and is a member of the board of directors of both Ford Otosan and Ford Sollers – the automaker’s joint-ventures in Turkey and Russia, respectively.